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Fears over increased crime after street lights go off at Payers Park, Folkestone


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A town centre park - branded a crime hotspot - has been left in darkness for two weeks, prompting fears among neighbours.

The street lights in Payers Park in Folkestone, and its adjoining car park, have been off since November 10.

The lights are off at Payers Park and car park in Folkestone, making residents scared to enter at night. All pictures: Elaine Nicholson
The lights are off at Payers Park and car park in Folkestone, making residents scared to enter at night. All pictures: Elaine Nicholson

But residents fear the pitch black setting will entice more crime to the area and will become a 'haven' for muggers.

Elaine Nicholson says with the lights out, any serious crime will not be picked up by CCTV.

She said: "All lights in that area have been out, even the Christmas tree lights. There are usually street lights in the park and the car park, so it is lit up and you can see what you're doing.

"Now, the park is in complete darkness.

"This area is a well-known haunt for drug dealing, which happens daily, as well as the gathering of large numbers of people when darkness falls.

Ms Nicholson says it would be easy for someone to hide in the car park at night
Ms Nicholson says it would be easy for someone to hide in the car park at night

"This is a real worry, because if any crime was committed in this area the security cameras would not be able to pick it up.

"It's a muggers and criminals haven at the moment, with no lights on."

Ms Nicholson says she has called the district council several times over the issue.

A knife bin was recently installed at Payers Park car park. Picture: Kent Police
A knife bin was recently installed at Payers Park car park. Picture: Kent Police

Ms Nicholson said: "It's horrendous. There is a car park too, where anyone could easily hide. If you're a woman on your own and you're going to your car, you wouldn't be able to see anyone."

The concerned resident says she would not walk through the park, which is often used as a cut through to Tontine Street, on her own at night.

She added: "No way is this safe for any person, what ever gender you are.

"I would like to know what we are paying our taxes for?"

A spokesman for Folkestone and Hythe District Council has confirmed the lights are now back on.

Earlier this month, two knife bins were placed around Folkestone as part of a national crackdown on knife crime, with one of them installed near the Payers Park car park, off Dover Road.

The scheme encourages anyone with a knife, or any other potential weapon, to dispose of it in these safe places without fear of prosecution.

In 2019, a rape investigation was launched after a woman was attacked in Payers Park, and in 2017, the park was taped off following an alleged assault.

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