Police have been unable to get CCTV footage of violence where a thug allegedly beat up bouncers and thumped innocent bystanders because council chiefs had turned off cameras to save money.
Now Ampthill Town Council has revelaed it is investigating switching cameras back on following trouble outside nightspots.
Witnesses claimed that the latest incicent was ‘like a scene out of EastEnders’ as a hole was punched in a police van window before a man was finally handcuffed and arrested outside the White Hart Hotel in the early hours of Sunday, November 8.
A second man was also later arrested.
But when police officers called the CCTV firm who used to monitor the area 24 hours a day, they were told: “Sorry, we turned off the cameras last year after the council refused to pick up the bill.”
Four out of five CCTV cameras were turned off to save thousands of pounds. The only one still in operation covers the park.
Keith Moore from Herts CCTV Parthership, said: “We warned them that there would be trouble in the future.
“The police called our control room about four times to get images.”
He said the cameras were costing the council £14,000 a year and even a knocked down price of £8,000 could not persaude councillors to keep them switched on.
Council clerk Dawn Sutherns said the cameras were turned off when the night-time use of town centre premises was minimal and there was no evidence to support the ongoing expense.
“This has of course now changed with the opening and the success of the White Hart and Number 4,” she said.
“Therefore the council is currently considering a new updated wireless system to cover the town centre.”
Describing the town centre row, Jared Christopher Rudge wrote on Facebook: “It was like something out of EastEnders. He was going mad.”