An image of where a CCTV system in newbury was damaged

Unfortunately, we occasionally have to be the bearers of bad news to the community of Newbury, Berkshire & North Hampshire.

Low-level crime became an all-too-often occurrence during lockdown, with businesses and empty buildings the target for thieves and vandals.

According to reports in the local media, Pamber Heath Memorial Hall, near Newbury has recently been vandalised. Although nothing was stolen from the hall, CCTV cameras and security lights around the building were damaged. This is in addition to them cutting electrical cables.

The incident happened over the late May bank holiday between May 23rd to 25th.

Eye witness accounts state, youths were reportedly seen climbing on the flat roof. They were said to be urinating and throwing beer bottles into the Impstone Preschool garden which is situated next door.

Initially, the Police were called on the Monday night, dispersing a group of youths prior to any damage being caused. Unfortunately,  the vandals were persistent and the Police had to return the following afternoon after the damage had then happened.

A word from the local Police

A spokesperson  for Hampshire Constabulary commented:

“We were called at 12.41pm on Tuesday, May 26, to reports that criminal damage had been caused at the Pamber Heath Memorial Hall overnight.

“Damage was caused to the CCTV cameras, lighting and guttering.

“Officers had attended at around 11.45pm the night before after reports of noise at the hall and a group of youths were dispersed, but no damage had been caused at this point.

“Anyone with information can phone 101 quoting 44200186964.”

In an attempt to fend off further break-ins, locks were then fitted to the entrance of the hall car park to try to stop people congregating there at night – only for them to be cut away not long after.

What makes things worse for the local community is The Memorial Hall is a registered charity. Pre-lockdown, they regularly featured several different classes, including pilates, dog training and Chinese kickboxing.

Speaking on behalf of Pamber Heath Memorial Hall…

Speaking of the incident, Pamber Heath Memorial Hall committee member, & Impstone Preschool manager, Amanda Davies said:

“These times are difficult enough as it is for everyone and we appreciate this is a large space for meeting.

“But the actions by few are affecting many others – our neighbours around the hall, our committee who have to spend time cleaning up after this disgusting behaviour, as well as now having to fix everything that has been damaged.

“While the clubs may not be able to operate, the preschool is still fully open and it isn’t fair that they have to come into this damage on a regular basis too.”

What can be done to prevent future crime in and around Newbury? 

Speaking about the impact of crime and how to prevent it, Managing Director of Safeguard Systems, Chris Clifton had the following to say:

“It’s always heartbreaking to hear of a local business or organisation being the victim of crime. Places like Pamber Heath Memorial Hall, are places the local community should be able to enjoy. Now due the actions of some local hoodlums, cameras need replacing and property repaired”

Here at Safeguard Systems, we’re experts in helping businesses and homeowners protect themselves against the impact of crime. 

For a small organisation like Pamber Heath Memorial Hall, we’d recommend ensuring all CCTV cameras are fully operational and maintained at regular intervals. Modern tech now allows you to easily link your CCTV system to a smart device helping to keep an eye on your property.

Additionally, when used in conjunction with a robust alarm system, you’ll have a solid security system in place, helping to deter criminals.

The original article was published in Newbury Today and you can read it here.