Crime concerns see Abbey lights back on
NIGHT time lighting next to Sherborne Abbey was restored this week after crime fears were raised in the town.
Last week Canon Eric Woods, vicar of Sherborne, on behalf of the Sherborne Parochial Church Council, called for the all-night lighting to be restored to the Abbey Close, which is encircled by houses and businesses and adjacent to the historic building.
Lights on selected streets throughout the town and across Dorset are being switched off between midnight and 6.30am as part of a money saving scheme by Dorset County Council.
In a letter to Sherborne Town Council, Mr Woods expressed fears that the pedestrian thoroughfare could be targeted by opportunistic thieves during Pack Monday Fair.
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He believed the county council contravened its own policy in shutting off lights in the Close – the new scheme is meant to avoid high-use areas, high-crime areas and town centres.
On Tuesday, Sherborne town councillors said they agreed with Mr Woods and reported that the county council will keep the Close lit all night.
Mr Woods told the Western Gazette yesterday the lights in Abbey Close had remained on all night between Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Common sense has prevailed," he said.
Fears were raised that the first Teddy Roe's night and Pack Monday Fair since the switch-off would be an open invitation for criminals to prey on Sherborne's newly-darkened streets.
But Sergeant Ged Want, of Sherborne Police, said on Monday the entire festival had taken place without incident.
After Tuesday's meeting councillor Anne O' Grady said she was disappointed with the town council's response over street lighting in other areas of the town.
She said: "The other councillors seem to want to wait and see what happens.
"But I tried to explain to them that people are witnessing concerning incidents.
"One lady told me that someone had tried her door at 4am, others say they have seen people wandering in between cars and my grandson had his bicycle stolen from a locked shed a few days ago."
PCSO Mark Andrews said Sherborne Police had not seen a marked rise in crime since the lights switch-off.
See pages 6 and 7 for full Pack Monday Fair coverage and lights comment on page 10.