Two ANPR cameras to be installed in Beccles to track criminals

Redbridge Council said its ANPR cameras have driven down burglary rates in the area. Picture:Clive G

Two ANPR cameras will be installed in Beccles - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Two ANPR cameras will be installed in Beccles to deter criminals and protect the town.

Beccles Town Council approved plans to install two Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which can be used to track criminals suspected of offences from driving without insurance to murder.

The cameras, which work around the clock, will cost £11,378 for both, with Beccles Town Council required to pay a yearly service fee of £720 for three years before Suffolk Police must pay for their maintenance.

Graham Catchpole, councillor, said: "This started before Covid and is the most valuable thing Beccles can do to help police.

"They are invisible and are a great deterrent.

"The drug cartels coming from Ipswich know if they come here they will be picked up. They can't deny they were here at 3am if they're caught on camera.

"I think it is extremely good value for money to help protect our town. It is a relatively small sum in terms of some of the money we have spent in the past."

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The cameras alert police forces around the country if a vehicle linked to a suspect drives past any ANPR camera, but they cannot be used to track the speed of a vehicle.

Jack Walmsley, councillor, said: "Whenever we make a decision about expenditure, it targets people in our area. Sometimes that spills into Worlingham and we are fine with that, but this is a national scheme to catch criminals should they happen to drive past.

"If I was a local criminal - which I hasten to add I am not - with my local knowledge I would make sure my car went nowhere near these cameras.

"It is a large sum of money and should be provided from other sources. I daren't say the government, but I don't think it should fall to our responsibility.

"It is a good scheme and excellent idea, but should be funded elsewhere."

Councillor Jeffrey Harris added: "The cameras are amazing technology but really it is criminal investigation to identify criminals."

The locations of the cameras cannot be revealed publicly.

Councillors were divided on the matter, with six voting in favour of funding the cameras and six voting against.

As mayor, councillor Barry Darch had the deciding vote and voted in favour, with the cameras to be installed at a later date.