TEMPORARY CCTV cameras have been installed in a Blackheath park after more than 780 people signed a petition stating it was plagued by crime and had become a no-go zone.

Sandwell Council initially refused the request for CCTV in Britannia Park even after 650 people had put their names on the petition - with many saying they are too scared to use the park because of incidents of people being threatened at knife-point, robberies, sexual assault, anti-social youths on motorbikes intimidating people, drug paraphernalia left about and use by drug dealers.

But it has now done a U-turn and has agreed to install CCTV on a temporary basis - with the need for cameras being reviewed every month at its town tasking meetings.

Scott Sexton, who lives in nearby Regis Road, started the petition, which can be found at https://bit.ly/2w6UKBo.

The 31-year-old I.T project manager, who lives with his fiancee, said: "Whilst today is a small victory for the petition and its supporters, the CCTV installed is temporary.

"I call on Sandwell Council to commit to increasing their efforts in Blackheath and Rowley Regis for supporting safer communities and to deliver a permanent solution."

Mr Sexton requested crime figures from West Midlands Police which showed 26 crimes had been reported at the park since 2015 including assault occasioning actual bodily harm, dangerous dogs injuring people, theft of a cycle, a threat with a blade and malicious wounding.

Just two crimes were recorded in 2019 - criminal damage and a threat with a blade. The stats however did not include details of a sexual assault which happened in the park in 2016.

Mr Sexton said: "The council is insistent that a permanent solution must be based on crime stats, but these stats do not reflect what the community is saying.

"They should listen to what residents are saying, rather than simply going on the numbers, which do not give a true reflection."

Mr Sexton believes some crimes could be being recorded in roads surrounding the park, instead of the park itself and has now requested crime stats for the park and the surrounding roads of Britannia Road, Ross and Mackmillan Road.

Councillor Maria Crompton, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “Although the police and partners have only received a small number of calls relating to the park over the past year, we have responded to concerns raised by the community.

“We have installed a deployable CCTV camera on a temporary basis to monitor the area and provide reassurance for residents.

“We will continue working closely with the police, youth services and other partners to monitor the situation and review the effectiveness of our actions – including the camera – at our monthly town tasking meetings.

“We can confirm the gates are locked at night.

“We would encourage people to report any incidents to the police on 101 or the council on 0121 368 1166.”