Leicester

Leicester pensioners start DIY CCTV campaign

A high-tech surveillance operation by a group of pensioners using hidden cameras to tackle anti-social behaviour has been launched in Leicester.

The 10 women, aged between 67 and 92, are filming litter bugs and suspected drug dealers in the St Peter's area of the city and posting footage online.

St Peter's Neighbourhood Monitoring Group hopes others will follow and has handed footage to the police.

But officers have advised residents to report crime worries to the force.

The women, who have been joined by resident Albert Berer, 27, use equipment worth up to £15,000 set up at 11 locations in the area to capture any incidents.

Some footage is posted on video-sharing website YouTube and photo gallery site Flickr.

Mr Berer said the group wanted to show how they could combat unruly behaviour and hoped their actions would show scared pensioners across the country that they can hit back against those blighting neighbourhoods with crime.

"What appears to appeal to people is OAPs frankly running rings around louts and drug dealers and literally turning the tables," he said.

"A lot of people, especially elderly people who are terrified sitting in their homes, may feel that the boot is on the other foot.

"There are cutbacks in officers and PCSOs across the country and, unless neighbourhood groups such as ours come up with these innovations, the streets are going to be taken over by youths - God knows, they are already."

He said some incidents were of interest to the local authority, while others were passed to the police.

"We have videoed over 100 offences, over 100 crimes or what we believed to be crimes, and we have provided video to police on a significant number of them," he added.

'Move out'

Mr Berer denied the group were vigilantes.

"It would probably be quite wrong for us to try to do anything punitive - that would be vigilante-ism, but this isn't," he said.

"If these people involved in these activities don't like the fact they are being filmed, then they need to stop it or move out of our neighbourhood."

Supt Phil Whiteley, from Leicestershire Police's city centre basic command unit, said: "We work with many diverse communities who want to make a difference in their local area.

"However, we would urge people to report their concerns to us".

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