A NEW CCTV system is helping police cut down on crime in Chipping Sodbury.

The Gazette can reveal that a monitoring suite, funded by South Gloucestershire Council, has already led to several arrests of a number of people spotted causing damage on the High Street.

The suite was installed at the Civic Centre in Kingswood, where trained monitors keep an eye over the High Street 24 hours a day.

Earlier success stories include: - In the early hours of January 15 a CCTV monitor made police officers aware of youths kicking cars in Rounceval Street. Two men aged 20 were arrested nearby and released on police bail pending further enquiries.

- In the early hours of January 7 CCTV monitors called in a report of a window at Lloyds Pharmacy in the High Street being broken as a result of rowdy behaviour by a group of youths. Officers attended and the matter was dealt with through restorative justice, with the youths, aged 19 and 20, visiting the shop the next day to pay for the window to be repaired.

- Shortly after 9.30pm on Christmas Eve CCTV staff alerted police to door staff detaining a man at one of the pubs. Officers attended immediately and arrested a 30-year-old man for using threatening words or behaviour. He was issued with an on-the-spot fine of £80 after a night in the cells.

Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Workman said: "The CCTV system has led directly to arrests in connection with damage and public order offences, and helps us gather evidence to support Anti-Social Behaviour Order applications.

"The monitored system enables us to respond more effectively to incidents of crime and disorder, speaking to the right people when we arrive."

Cllr James Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), executive member for communities, said: "While Chipping Sodbury and South Gloucestershire as a whole remains a safe place to live and work, there is no excuse for the types of incidents of criminal damage which have been captured on CCTV in this area recently and we will continue to work closely with the police to clamp down on this sort of behaviour."

The use of CCTV in Chipping Sodbury has been reinforced with council-funded taxi marshals, who were employed last year. The marshals patrol High Street and Broad Street, where a number of late-opening pubs are located, on Friday and Saturday nights to help people find their way home safely.

As well as ushering people in to licensed cabs, they also help revellers who are lost or injured. On Friday, February 2 they helped a man who sustained head injuries after he slipped on ice outside Veals fishing tackle shop. In freezing temperatures the marshals put the man in the recovery position, called an ambulance and then took him to warm up in a police car as it was minus six degrees centigrade outside.

The following night (Saturday, February 3) they helped a young woman who was found wandering in a distressed state at 1.40am and looked after her until her friends arrived who were looking for her.