Scrap metal thieves target museum

First published in Harle Syke Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A BURNLEY museum is bidding to install CCTV in a bid to stop scrap metal thieves.

Queen Street Mill has become the latest victim of the booming market in stolen scrap metal - which has already seen hospitals, churches and railway lines hit in East Lancashire.

Bosses at the museum - where the town's textile industry heritage is celebrated - have drawn up plans to boost security at the landmark venue.

The proposals follow a series of thefts of lead, from the mill roof, and vandalism, which has cost the Lancashire County Council owned museum £3,000.

Six cameras, positioned at strategic points, have been suggested, along with a 2.4 metre high fence around the museum's perimeter.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman has told Burnley planners: "Due to vandalism and the theft of lead from roofs, approximately £3,000 in the last 12 months, the provision of a CCTV system would vastly improve the security of the site for members staff and the public.

"The additional security given by the security gates and fencing to the rear entrance will eliminate the use of this area for unauthorised access.

"The hardstanding to the rear of the building is frequent point of access onto the roof for vandals."

The design of the cameras has been a crucial factor in security considerations though, as the mill is in the middle of a conservation area.

Camera heads will be black, in a bid to minimise the impact on the surrounding area.

Installing the minimum number of cameras, while still giving the maximum visibility for operators, has been another element considered by museum chiefs.

The spokesman added: "The CCTV system would be installed, where possible, to gain the appropriate vantage points, but be sensitively positioned to avoid them being too obvious."

The funding for the scheme is being provided from the capital projects budget, within Lancashire's adult and community services directorate.

Lancashire County Council has asked for permission to install the CCTV in a planning application which will be considered at a later date.

Thieves have targeted churches and homes under renovation across the Burnley and Pendle areas, as the scrap metal prices have soared in recent months.

But transport police were concerned in January when youths were caught attempting to steal disused railway lines in Cliviger.

Hospital communication systems in East Lancashire were devastated last year when vandals dug up hundreds of metres of cabling serving Blackburn hospital.

Phone lines were crippled at the Haslingden Road site and all calls had to be transferred to Burnley General Hospital until repairs could be made.

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