A TOWN centre's CCTV system has not been working for more than five weeks after workmen accidentally dug up underground cables.

Police are stepping up patrols and using a mobile CCTV van to monitor Darwen following the incident at the former health centre, Union Street, on January 30.

But people have reacted with anger to the revelation that the town has been without the service for so long.

Coun Roy Davies, representative of the Sudell ward, said: "I am really disgusted at it, really angry.

"They're meant to be recording what's going on in the town centre and we had the perfect example of why it is needed when there was an attack in the Circus the other week.

"It's absolutely terrible for it to be not working for so long - something should have been done about it straight away."

It is understood that the borough's community safety partnership, which runs the system and is made up of police and council officials is seeking a refund for the cost of repairs at the site, which is being converted into apartments.

All five cameras that operate in the town centre and three at Darwen railway station are out of action.

A timescale for the repair has not been set.

The site's former owner, Blackburn with Darwen Primary Care Trust, insists it was not aware of the CCTV cables when it sold the site for development, and does not know who the current owners are.

Chief Inspector Alice Knowles, who also spoke on behalf of the partnership, said: "We are making full use of the mobile CCTV van which has been deployed at key times and places in Darwen and whilst this is not a replacement for the CCTV system, the mobile unit has the added benefit of not being limited to fixed locations. This van will be deployed in Darwen this weekend.

"Officers will also be using headcams in the area and we will be continuing to use the Darwen Shop and Business Radio scheme which includes many of the larger stores, the market and licensed premises in the town.

"We advise members of the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the local police, which would always be our advice in any circumstance."

David Peers, Associate Director of Estates and Facilities at the PCT said: "We had no knowledge of any external CCTV connection when we sold the site. If we had, we would have declared it at the time.

"It is normal practice for any formal agreements or rights of access over the property to be written into the legal documents relating to the site."

Mark Graham, of Mark Graham Hair Design, Bolton Road, said: "Two weeks ago I had my window broken.

"They should repair it as soon as possible and expand the coverage to other areas in the town."