Community watch keeping eye on Blackpool streets

A neighbourhood watch style scheme has been set up by hoteliers and businesses around Coronation Street and the surrounding area.  Pictured L-R are Stuart Caddick and Reg Cartwright.
A neighbourhood watch style scheme has been set up by hoteliers and businesses around Coronation Street and the surrounding area. Pictured L-R are Stuart Caddick and Reg Cartwright.
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A new community watch focused on helping Blackpool’s hoteliers has made its debut in the resort.

Members of the Central Blackpool Business Forum, along with other local businesses, are now connected at all times via radio as they keep a watchful eye out for troublemakers outside their homes.

Local hotelier Stuart Caddick, 29, who spearheaded the idea, said: “We’re not vigilantes. You just report what you see.

“If you see a crime being committed, you don’t get involved and try to stop it - you call the police.

“The thing is, unfortunately, people don’t feel safe in this area any more.”

The community watchdogs communicate using handheld radios inspired by Mr Caddick’s time in the RAF.

Some 20 hotels and businesses in Blackpool’s central holiday area have signed up to the scheme.

Mr Caddick said: “I know a little bit about radios from my time in the RAF and I know that most radios need a licence, but I managed to find some that are licence-free and because of that they are very easy to use.

“It doesn’t cost hundreds; they’re just £11 each.

“This way if there’s someone creeping around people can use the radio to ask someone to come over so they feel safer, or to take a quick look outside.

“It’s very much in its infancy right now.

“We’ve got a few hoteliers on board and some local cafe owners have shown interest, as well as a few corner shop owners.

“People find that having these plans in place make them feel safer.

“So many people in the area are interested in getting involved, and there’s no harm in trying something new.

“I feel like we have to push that we won’t put up with crime in our area.”

Fellow Central Blackpool Business Forum member and hotelier Gerard Walsh is also a member of the new watch, which launches its trial period this week.

He said: “The reason we thought about it initially was because of the immediacy of the idea.

“If you’ve got somebody causing anti-social behaviour you can let other hotels and shops know right away.

“We’ve got five or six businesses that are going to initially try it to see if it works.

“They are only small radios that you can easily carry on your person when you’re going out.

“I think it could help prevent crime as well as help inform people about problems that are happening in the town.

“I think it will make a difference and I’m looking forward to the trials.”

Business owners in Blackpool’s centre who are interested in joining the new community watch are asked to contact Mr Caddick online at www.cbbf.co.uk/contact.