Safety fears still prevail due to late-night blackout

SWITCHED ON: Sue Ayres with worried residents in Second Avenue.
SWITCHED ON: Sue Ayres with worried residents in Second Avenue.

The loss of late-night street lighting in Sudbury has left residents feeling unsafe and at greater risk of crime or injury.

That is the view of town councillor Sue Ayres, who has fallen victim to four garage break-ins since the switch off.

Mrs Ayres, who lives in Second Avenue, said the break-ins had all taken place over a 10-month period, with the latest occurring last week.

“It is not as if I have anything in my garage – it is empty,” said Mrs Ayres, a former school teacher.

“But that does not stop people trying to get in and the problems have all been since the lights were turned off.”

As part of Suffolk County Council’s intelligent street lighting system, lights in roads and estates across the county were switched off between midnight and 5.30am last year. The scheme is designed to cut the authority’s energy bills by nearly £900,000.

But Mrs Ayres said the scheme was putting people’s safety at risk.

“It is frightening because people are walking around in total darkness and people don’t feel safe,” she said.

“At the very least, alternate lights should be put on, as it is getting to the point where I don’t want to live here. I know people who have moved because of it.”

Police say crime in Sudbury has fallen since the switch-off.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “We are sensitive to local needs which is why we have made it possible for street lighting to be left on for longer periods – or remain on all night – where it is necessary for safety.

“We will work with residents to establish if there is a need for the street lighting to be switched back on.”