the place to be
Saturday April 4th 2020

Neighbourhood Watch Summer update

Though police numbers everywhere are seriously reduced and PC Vicky Seymour is on office duties after breaking her foot, we are lucky that PCSO Lorraine Wells is now back with us and came to see me recently. However, she tells me that she has to cover a huge area – 6 villages as her permanent patch and some others in emergency – so cannot be in Bletchingley as much as she would like. I’ve already alerted her to several of our problems and will pass on any info. you give me.

After help from Dick Kiss’s newsletter, we have one new NHW coordinator, Linda Bahariar for the right-hand side Rectory end of Outwood Lane. Thanks, both! But there’s still nobody for Big Common Lane, Church Walk, Clare Cottages, Coneybury nos. 1-30, Crescent Road, Hart Close, all 3 sections of High Street, The Grange and Stychens Close. If you can help, please tell me.
As usual it’s been pretty crime-free here but in places too close for comfort it has not – a big increase in stolen and vandalised vehicles, drugs seized by police (County Lines activity is terribly concerning), night-time prowlers (don’t leave accessible windows open; people have been robbed while they slept!), drink-driving offences (be extra careful if in your car you see erratic behaviour in another).
Scams have got even weirder, not only the oft-repeated computer email links but people being accosted by fake police/traffic wardens, saying they’ve parked illegally and demanding a fine. When the victim inserts a bank card into a nearby meter the PIN is “shoulder-surfed” and the card snatched. An even more fantastic scam is the chap knocking on your door to tell you a seagull is trapped in your chimney, offering to free it – for a fee of course. I’m thinking of initiating a competition for the MOST imaginative scam!
A new recruit has been trained and three more will be soon. It’s evident from the interest shown when we are out with the kit that villagers are now even more aware of the dangerous driving locally. Unfortunately the authorities are not. I attended a third meeting with Surrey Highways and other officials and again, despite great efforts from Janine Marks, Gill Black and Tony Elias, the cogs of official action seem to be lacking some teeth (not to mention the can/road cliché!). We will not be squashed!
We’re continuing to operate at all 7 sites and, though the police have notified us that they can no longer spare officers to knock on the doors of drivers offending for a third time, the usual letters will still be sent for any breach of the speed limit and fines/training sessions imposed where desirable.
I’ve had a number of agonised messages from residents in Coneybury and other streets about the noise from nuisance motor-bikers using the paths and fields as race tracks. In fact, while on Speedwatch I saw two roaring along Outwood Lane recently. Most don’t have number plates and are not allowed on public highways. What was equally serious was that an elderly dog-walker in a field was given a rude response when he pointed out that a parent with a young child was walking nearby and she had already been frightened by the speed and proximity of the bikes. The police, land-owners, local residents and NHW have all tried to get this selfish, dangerous activity stopped but it’s intermittent and people are scared to get involved. If you know the address of any of the bikers, please tell me – anonymously or in confidence of course.
The next planning meeting is on Thursday September 5th. Let me know if you’re a would-be Speedwatcher.
Di Turner: 01883 743598