Have-a-go hero sets up Neighbourhood Watch scheme

A have-a-go hero has set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme after he grappled with a would-be thief at his home.

John Hall has now set up a Neighbourhood Watch group with his neighbours following a spate of offences in their community in York.

Residents in Royal Avenue, Huntington, have seen one car stolen, another vandalised, a third broken into and numerous attempts by burglars at house doors in the street.

Mr Hall has lived in the street since the end of 2014 and tackled the criminal who had broken into his car in December.

He said: “My wife noticed someone was in my car and screamed. I came out and challenged him. Police were phoned and couldn’t get here any quicker than 15 minutes, but I held onto him for about six minutes, but after that, he was gone. The way he was grabbing in his pockets, I thought he had a knife.

“There have been a spate of attempted burglaries in the area and we have a lot of young families in the area so we just felt as though we needed to do something to pull the community together.”

More than 50 people have signed up to the new scheme, with signs posted in the area and regular meetings planned, but there have already been other results too.

Mr Hall said: “It’s about sharing experiences and things people have seen. The majority of people in the area have security cameras and we already have videos of people trying doorhandles late at night so with the community pulling together, we have gathered all that and fed it back to the police. Within a month, we’ve gained evidence for them.

“We have to stand together and do something. We would’ve preferred not to have had any burglaries but now residents are standing together and shocked by what happened and this is hopefully going to help tackle it. People are going into their own pockets to get CCTV cameras. I would encourage people to do this before the crime actually happens. Get everyone looking out for each other. We can all watch each others’ backs. It’s a good way to meet your neighbours as well, we’ve met more people in last couple of months than in the last year.”

PCSO Laura Harper, who helped Mr Hall and the residents set up the group, said: “I think its great how the street is coming together, building a stronger community, working in partnership with the police providing reassurance to residents. I would encourage anyone interested in becoming involved in Neighbourhood Watch to get in touch.”

(Story and picture courtesy of The Press, York)