Night vision camera to protect river lock

A £30,000 CCTV camera with infra-red capabilities is being installed in Godmanchester to try to prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour. The new equipment will keep watch – both day and night – over Godmanchester Lock which has had tens of thousands o

A £30,000 CCTV camera with infra-red capabilities is being installed in Godmanchester to try to prevent vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

The new equipment will keep watch - both day and night - over Godmanchester Lock which has had tens of thousands of pounds of work carried out to repair damage caused by vandals.

The Environment Agency, which is paying for the camera, said Godmanchester is a known hotspot for antisocial behaviour.

It says youths regularly gather at the site to "swim in the lock, jump from the top of the guillotine gates or vandalise the expensive lock operating equipment".

Nathan Arnold, waterways team leader for the Great Ouse, said: "We hope that installing a CCTV camera will provide a strong deterrent to vandals at the lock, and that we can greatly reduce the number of incidents of antisocial behaviour at Godmanchester.'

In 2007 vandals caused more than £20,000 of damage to the site when they jammed open the downstream gates, eventually letting them slam shut with such a force that the gates were left in need of urgent repair.

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And with the current improvement work at the site, which will see the introduction of powered gates, the Environment Agency wanted to secure the area to help provide protection for its investment and boaters.

The new camera, which is six-meters high, had to be carried to the lock on a barge because of the isolated position.

Once up and running it will feed images into Huntingdonshire District Council's CCTV control room in Huntingdon which operates 24 hours a day.

Footage from the camera is recorded and could be used by the police in the event of a prosecution.

The operators will also be able to speak directly to people at the lock through a loud speaker system.

It is hoped that surveillance at the site, and a zero tolerance policy from police force, will reduce antisocial behaviour, making it safer boaters using the lock and other people who walk in the area.

The camera can also monitor river levels and the A14.

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