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Newark family whose home has been victim of burglaries say they feel safer thanks for Safer Streets partnership

A woman whose family home has been a victim of burglaries and anti-social behaviour says she feels much safer thanks to security improvements made possible by a Safer Streets partnership.

Laura-Jo Webster lives in a Newark home that previously belonged to her grandmother.

It is an exposed property close to Newark town centre that has a public walkway by the side of it.

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, burglary reduction officer PSCO Ellie Smalley and a resident.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, burglary reduction officer PSCO Ellie Smalley and a resident.

The 43-year-old primary school teacher experienced a house burglary a couple of years ago just a few days after Christmas. A safe had been ripped out of the bedroom wall which contained her late nan's wedding rings, her grandad's war medals and other sentimental items she never saw again.

She said: "It had happened in the middle of the day and I remember coming back from work and finding the house completely ransacked. I was absolutely heartbroken because we'd got a kitten for Christmas and I couldn't find him anywhere so I presumed he'd been let out by the intruders.

Camera (44053985)
Camera (44053985)

"Luckily, I eventually found him cowering underneath a table. To this day, he is still very nervous and timid and I often wonder whether it was as a result of what happened.

"The sentimental items wrongly taken from me were completely priceless and can never be replaced. For a long time I struggled with the fact that I'd never again see these precious belongings. It was such an intrusive thing to happen, I felt dirty and unsafe in my own home which is something you should never have to feel."

The security improvement works was part of the £500,000 Safer Streets partnership by Nottinghamshire Police, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Burglary reduction officer PCSO Ellie Smalley, who is working with the community to introduce measures such as new locks, improved lighting and CCTV security systems, put a flyer through the door suggesting people who have been crime victims check to see whether they were eligible.

Laura-Jo, who lives at the house with her husband and his 19-year-old son, said: “It said to contact Ellie Smalley if you were interested in receiving an assessment for improved security.

“I thought there was nothing to lose by getting in touch but didn’t expect it to come to anything.”

Laura-Jo’s grandmother had been burgled several times, once waking to find an intruder standing over her at the end of her bed. Laura-Jo has had people trying to scale her fence and her car has been damaged.

“We had the assessment and since then have had a range of security devices fitted,” she said.

“We have had a security light that is movement-activated fitted to replace one that stopped working years ago, vibrating window alarms for the patio and have been measured up for a new more secure back door and I believe will be receiving some locks for our bikes.

“We have a camera, which we pay £4 a month for, which is the only cost and we haven’t had to pay for fitting, and a phone feed so we can speak to anyone on the doorstep if we are away.

“It’s better than I could have ever hoped for to be honest. It gives us reassurance and a feeling of safety.

“I would say that if anyone receives the flyer then act on it because it could make such a difference.”

As well as home security improvements, the Safer Streets money will also pay for the Chatham Court hub and has paid for major improvement work to street lighting in two areas of Newark to bolster visibility at night by more than double.

Via East Midlands upgraded 72 street lights with new, brighter LED lanterns in the Chatham Court and Lover’s Lane areas, including Albert Street, Castle Brewery Court, Eldon Street, Hardwick Avenue, Harewood Avenue, Princes Street, Rufford Avenue, Southend Avenue and Spring Gardens.

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