POLICE, fire and crime commissioner Zoe Metcalfe and councillors are encouraging people to sign up to a scheme designed at protecting homes and businesses across Craven.

The Protect Your Home scheme, with £719,000 provided by the Home Office, aims to prevent burglary and protect individuals, families and businesses in more than 1,000 homes and 90 farms along the borders of Craven and Harrogate with West Yorkshire.

Following a security survey, home owners can receive new locks for vulnerable doors, windows, garages and sheds, and alarm systems for farms and small holdings. For homes with suitable WiFi coverage the scheme also includes a RING video door bell.

Free security surveys and upgrades are available to homes in the parishes of Clapham cum Newby, Cononley, Lawkland, and Lothersdale, as well as in areas of Harrogate.

Just before Christmas, video door bells, installed as part of the scheme, captured a burglar in Cononley. The video evidence enabled the police to identify the person and make an arrest.

Superintendent Teresa Lam, senior operational commander for Harrogate and Craven, said: “The overnight mini crimewave in Cononley on November 24 became much easier to solve due to the safety equipment installed by the Safer Streets Fund.

“The properties were targeted by a single male offender who was quickly captured on CCTV at seven different properties in the village.

“The footage was clear and easy for residents to provide to the police and made identification of the male so much easier."

She added:“The crimes included dwelling burglaries with a car being stolen from one house, shed and garage burglaries, criminal damage and several attempts to enter other dwellings and outbuildings.

“The offender was captured a couple of days later and is under investigation for all offences. “The whole incident had a huge impact on the small community but they very quickly came together with their evidence to help solve the crimes, for which I am very grateful.

“I would encourage any eligible occupants to become involved in this fantastic initiative to help protect their properties”.

Commissioner Metcalfe added:“My office has done really well to secure this funding from the Home Office on behalf of these communities and so it’s really important that the money is used to improve the security of as many homes and farms as possible.

“The more people who sign up in a community the more resilient to burglary that area becomes, and we’ve seen this demonstrated in Cononley when a burglar was captured on seven video door bells, many funded through this scheme.

“So, please, if you live in one of the parishes covered by this scheme, please do sign up for your free security upgrades."

Councillor Andy Brown, who represents Aire Valley on North Yorkshire County Council said it was an excellent scheme.

He said: “When several homes were broken into, one night in the village of Cononley, the police were able to use video footage to identify and arrest a suspect making the village feel much safer and more secure.

“Anyone who has the chance to participate in the scheme should do so, not just for their own safety but for their neighbours, because the more of us sign up, the safer our community becomes.”

Some of those who have signed up already have said how safer they feel. One said: "I was really impressed with the scheme and service and the contractor. I feel significantly safer, not necessarily because of the work we’ve had done but because so many people in the village are having the work done, thereby making the village as a whole safer."

Another said it was "Absolutely superb. Everything was very clear, the fitters were very efficient. It was really worth it, I feel a lot safer."

One said: "First class service, not only for the work carried out but also for the security advice which was very specific to my property, not just generic. Was really, really, really impressed."

Others commented how 'very satisfied' they were and how the work was done to 'a high standard and how they now feel 'much safer with my video door bell and the new locks'.

Another said: "The guys were terrific. They fitted locks and a video door bell. They checked the locks on my front door. I live by myself and all in all feel significantly safer. I will spread the word to those around me who have so far not shown any interest.

"Super job. Ideal guys for the job. Lots of good advice. I can sleep easier now. Couldn't say enough good things about our fitters."

From the Safer Streets Fund, a total of £719,950 has been used for improving security on homes and farms, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras and upgrade of Rural Watch Signage in specific locations to detect and deter potential burglars The scheme started in September last year, and is due to end in September this year - residents have until August to sign up and join the so far 422 homes to have received a security upgrade.

Of the 422 homes, 330 video door bells have been installed, 651 homes have signed up to the scheme and security upgrades on farms got underway in February.

Almost half, 47 per cent of homes in Lothersdale have signed up to the scheme, followed by 42 per cent in Cononley, eight per cent in Clapham and five per cent in Lawkland.

Find out how to sign up at: www.ProtectYourHome.org.uk