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Police unable to view CCTV car park theft tapes from Headcorn station because they were recorded on VHS

By Claire McWethy

Police investigating a theft from a station car park were left unable to view CCTV images - because they were recorded to VHS.

The outdated tape system, which went out of fashion in the early 2000s, is still being used to monitor Headcorn station and its surroundings, it has emerged.

It came to light after company director David Hart reported the external spare wheel of his Land Rover had been taken after parking there one Saturday as he travelled to London to see a show with his wife Tracy.

David Hart in front of the CCTV cameras at Headcorn station car park

He discovered the wheel was missing when the car was serviced days later and was convinced the theft happened while the vehicle was in the station car park.

But after reporting the theft to police, he was told there was no evidence of the crime because the CCTV system was so old it was failing to produce images of sufficient quality.

Mr Hart spent £750 on replacing the wheel as well as the winch system that attached it to the underside of his car, which had been cut.

But the 56-year-old said: "I'm not worried about a spare wheel. I'm thinking of what could happen to young ladies late at night.

"You are under the impression you are safe because of these cameras but you are not. It is a joke.

"It is such an old system that police couldn't get anything off it."

A VHS recording system is still being used to monitor Headcorn station and its surroundings

A Southeastern spokesman said an up-to-date DVR – high quality digital – system was due to be installed in a fortnight.

He said: "We are currently in the process of updating CCTV across our network.

"While Headcorn has yet to benefit, we are confident the system in place captures footage that can be used to help investigations, and that the presence of the cameras provides a more secure environment."

A British Transport Police spokesman said: "Unfortunately, we have experienced issues with the CCTV at Headcorn station, and were unable to view footage from this incident.

"The issue has been reported to Southeastern trains, which manages the station."

Are you still watching movies on VHS? How old's your player? And how old is your oldest gadget? Join the debate below.

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