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A BASILDON councillor has said he is looking into installing cameras in an alleyway after a man was attacked last month.
Independent Kerry Smith, deputy leader of Basildon Council, said he would ask officers to investigate installing CCTV in the alleyway between Great Gregorie and Nethermayne.
The alleyway has been a magnet for antisocial behaviour for decades but Cllr Smith said a recent attack ‘might well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back’.
A man in his 40s was attacked and beaten around the head by a gang in an unprovoked incident on Tuesday, August 20.
The man was passing through the alleyway after 9pm when five or six teenagers asked him for a cigarette, then beat him up.
It was only the latest in a long line of incidents in the alleyway, which runs alongside garages behind homes in Great Gregorie and emerges by the railway bridge.
The alley is lined by a high wall on one side and trees on the other. Whilst there are lampposts at either end, the alleyway itself is pitch black at night. A number of muggings have occurred there over the years.
The alley is the main pedestrian route to the train station and town centre for thousands of residents on the Lee Chapel South estate. Avoiding the alleyway would, for many residents, double or treble their journey times.
For a number of years, a CCTV camera was mounted on the side of the house nearest the alley – but it was a private camera and it was not known whether it worked.
Last year, the alley became a key meeting place for a drug-dealing operation which was later linked to a house of multiple occupancy near Ingaway.
Numerous residents reported being intimidated by large gangs gathering in the alleyway and a group of residents began patrolling the streets at night with torches, calling themselves the Guardian Mayngels, after local pub The Castlemayne.
A joint effort between residents, councillors and police saw the operation shut down within a matter of weeks.
But Cllr Smith said last month’s attack showed the alleyway was continuing to cause problems.
He told the YA: “I’ve already looked into better lighting, but because Essex Council is so pig-headed, they don’t put new lampposts in new locations. That leaves it to Basildon Council and then you’re talking silly money.
“But I did go down to the alleyway at the weekend to look at whether there is any possibility of CCTV, because when you get incidents like this, it deters people from using the road. Having CCTV would deter criminals and give people peace of mind.
“I have got a meeting this afternoon with officers at the council. I’ll put it to them and ask them to see what it costs and the feasibility.”