Focus on CCTV as vandals strike

Harry Stoddart is counting the cost of the latest vandal attack on his High Street salon
Harry Stoddart is counting the cost of the latest vandal attack on his High Street salon

A HIGH Street businessman is calling for more investment in the town’s CCTV system after his shop was this week targeted by vandals for the third time in little over a year.

Harry Stoddart, who owns Image Hairdressing, has been forced to spend more than £1,000 on repairing broken windows and additional security devices following several incidents of criminality, the latest of which took place in the early hours of Sunday, and forced him to board up the shop “like a drug den”.

Until last year, his salon shopfront had been attacked just once in 14 years since Mr Stoddart, 55, began trading on the High Street, but vandals have plagued his premises since February 2011.

“I think the answer is better CCTV and funding for it,” he said. “The question has to be why it has not been improved?

“It’s an ongoing problem,” continued Stoddart. I feel that the CCTV has sometimes helped us, but not always. On the High Street, the cameras were either not in the right direction or the picture was not clear enough.

“People are walking past yet again and shaking their heads in disapproval. They’re just ashamed that this has gone on in our town. It looks rough. I wouldn’t walk into an establishment that is boarded up like a drug den. Hopefully the shop will be back to form for the tourist trade starting in a month’s time.”

A council spokesperson said: “Assessments are carried out annually to determine where any upgrading/improvement works should take place within the budget levels available. At this time it is not anticipated that any works will be carried out to the current CCTV system in Hawick in the forseeable future.”

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that a 21-year-old local man has been charged with vandalism and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Inspector Paula Clark said: “We will continue our efforts to make Hawick a safer place by bringing offenders to justice.”