Woman attacked minutes after street lights go off

A PETITION has already been launched to restore light to Kenilworth’s streets after a girl was punched while walking home in the dark on the very first night of the blackout.

Mia Bastock was making her way home from work along Clarendon Road in the early hours of Saturday when she said she was approached by two men and assaulted.

The 25-year-old told the KWN: “There where two lads walking behind me and they were both laughing, I stepped back to let them go in front of me.

“As soon as I turned onto the bridge one punched me in the face and they ran off shouting ‘you won’t get us, you don’t know who we are’.

“I couldn’t see anything I’ve never been so scared in my life. It’s terrifying and something needs to happen before someone gets seriously hurt.”

She has not yet reported the incident to the police who said they have not had any official complaints of assault.

Nearly all street lights in the town now go off between midnight and 5.30am as part of a cost cutting scheme due to roll out county wide over the next few months to save Warwickshire County Council half a million pounds each year.

But the news has not been welcomed by all, and as well as a petition already launched online to restore lighting in the early hours, Ms Bastcok and her friends are collecting signatures in hope of getting the council to ‘see sense over safety’.

Town and district councillor, Richard Davies who made a plea for the lights along Abbey Fields to remain on for safety, said: “Danger to young people walking back from work in darkness is exactly what I warned the Town Council about and I truly have grave concerns about this.

“I have already received complaints about people falling over when the lights went off as they walked home.

“It might be sensible to start arranging to walk with friends or making sure you have a powerful torch, it shouldn’t be necessary, but under the circumstances at least it is sensible.”

County councillor Alan Cockburn, who is part of the team behind the switch off, said there was no evidence to suggest darkness has an effect on crime and that similar schemes across the UK have not had problems.

“The council has to make millions of pounds of savings and we are looking to save a lot with the street lights,” he said.

“There has been no evidence of crime rising in other areas of the country where this has been done but we will be monitoring all complaints carefully.”

He said after a four month trial of the scheme, there will be a consultation period after which it could be possible to turn lights back on if any problem areas are identified.