CCTV at cemetery to deter vandal attacks

JARROW CEMETERY ... could get CCTV to halt vandal attacks.
JARROW CEMETERY ... could get CCTV to halt vandal attacks.

SECURITY cameras could be installed to tackle yobs who run amok among the headstones in a South Tyneside cemetery.

Surveillance equipment will be used for the first time at a borough burial grounds if proposals for CCTV coverage at Jarrow Cemetery are given the go-ahead.

The move comes after reports of anti-social behaviour, vandalism and rowdiness at the 143-year-old graveyard beside the Hill Park estate.

Last year, hundreds signed a petition calling for cameras to be installed there.

But the campaigners’ hopes were dashed – because cash-strapped South Tyneside Council didn’t have the £48,000 needed to pay for it.

Now a revised plan for a stand-alone camera system could happen at the cost of just £11,000.

Members of Jarrow and Boldon’s Community Area Forum will consider the application when they meet on Thursday.

The proposal has the support of Jarrow councillor Jim Perry, the council’s lead member for neighbourhoods and environment.

He said: “We, as councillors, have been approached on numerous occasions by people on the Hill Park estate and visitors to the cemetery with complaints about hooligans getting in there.

“Police in panda cars pass by and check for problems, but cameras would seem to be a logical deterrent.

“If we can get the cameras in at a reasonable cost, it will be well worth it.”

The move has the support of Amanda Vallance, 42, whose son, Scott McFarlane, died at 11 weeks in 1990 and is buried in the cemetery, and Hazel Honeyman, 52, of Beverley Court, Jarrow, who has five family members buried in the town graveyard.

They say the area has become an illegal drinking den, with bottles and cans regularly strewn over graves.

A report to the committee says: “A stand-alone system could be installed within the existing buildings.

“This could include a post-mounted camera located to the front of the lodge and a second camera located to the rear of the garage within the yard.”

The maximum current fine for vandalism in the cemetery is £100.

Committee members are to meet at Jarrow Town Hall from 10am.

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