Carter's Park, Holbeach.

Theft of CCTV system among incidents that ends trial of keeping parks unlocked overnight

Holbeach’s parks and cemeteries are to be closed overnight again after a host of incidents were recorded including the theft of a CCTV camera and its memory card.

A complaint has been made to the town’s parish council that police advice wasn’t adequately represented when in February it decided to trial leaving Carter’s Park, Netherfields Park, Holbeach Cemetery and Hallgate Cemetery unlocked overnight.

Lincolnshire Police confirmed it ‘would rather the gates be closed’ and that an officer had met with a Holbeach Parish Council representative.

The police views weren’t mentioned at Monday’s meeting of the parish council where members voted to bring the trial to an end and look at the most cost effective way to lock the amenities.

Incidents reported to the police include several break ins, drug taking and councillors have said people have been found sleeping in both the cemeteries and Carter’s Park.

Lincolnshire Police confirmed that a £250 CCTV camera was stolen from Carter’s Park on June 5.

The parish council’s CCTV champion Paula Silva told The Voice that the camera was a Reolink Argus 2 1080p camera system purchased by councillor funds from former district councillor Paul Foyster.

She said of the associated memory card: “The system uses an SD card that autowrites over itself and had been encrypted, with policies in place to limit access.”

She also down played the number of incidents saying it “was noted as extremely low compared to other areas locally.”

The parish council’s initial decision to trail leaving the areas unlocked was decided in a portion of the February meeting not held in public due to “staffing issues”, the minutes for the February meeting state.

An official complaint has been made to the council with regards police advice being misrepresented in that meeting alongside a separate allegation against an individual.

A request by The Voice for the number of complaints against Holbeach Parish Council members and employees in the last 60 days has not been answered.

Coun Rudkin, who was voted in as the new chairman replacing Tony Lomax at a council meeting two weeks ago, declined to comment further.

In Monday’s meeting, he moved the motion to lock the open areas.

He said: “I’m not happy with leaving them undone. It seems we’re getting problems there after dark.

“Since the unlocking the problems seem to have been going on all the time.

“We need to be locking them for the safety of the public.”

Lincolnshire Police have appealed for information particularly relating to the theft of the CCTV system which they say involved the pole it was erected on being pulled down.

A spokesman said: “A number of canisters, which were likely to have contained Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas, were found in the area. A group of youths have also been reported to have been in the park.

“We are appealing to the local community to get in touch by email or calling 101 if they are able to assist with information that will help with our inquiry.

“The use of Nitrous Oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, Hippie Crack, Noz or Balloons is a psychoactive drug which means it is illegal to give away or sell/supply. It is dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from the canister and people risk falling unconscious or suffocating from lack of oxygen.”

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