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Met's anti-burglary campaign upsets eco campaigners

PUBLISHED: 17:12 05 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:31 07 September 2010

By Ben McPartland THE Met has been accused of ignoring environmental concerns in its campaign to foil burglars by encouraging people to leave their lights on when they go out. Operation Bumblebee, which was originally launched in 1993, has returned this

By Ben McPartland

THE Met has been accused of ignoring environmental concerns in its campaign to foil burglars by encouraging people to leave their lights on when they go out.

Operation Bumblebee, which was originally launched in 1993, has returned this year to try to cut down on the number of burglaries across the capital.

Poster adverts (pictured right) displayed in Tube stations and bus stops are encouraging members of the public to secure their homes by leaving lights on when they're out.

But the suggestion has fallen foul of environmentalists encouraging people to save energy to protect the planet.

Highgate Green Party councillor Maya de Souza said: "It's very important that all authorities think through the climate-change and energy-use implications of their policy, and that as individuals we do so too in respect of our actions. The Met don't appear to have given this much consideration before giving their advice.

"Of course people need to think about how best to protect their homes. If keeping the lights on is the only sensible option they need to think about doing this in as energy-efficient a way as possible. Saving energy will not only save us money - it's the better solution considering peak oil prices and climate change."

In addition to the advice the Met also decided to launch the campaign by projecting images of the publicity on New Scotland Yard and City Hall.

The Green Party's London Assembly member Jenny Jones said: "I understand that people are concerned about the safety of their property when they are not home.

"However, the Met's advice to leave the lights on will push up energy use and household bills.

"I would encourage people to install good locks and to get involved in their local neighbourhood policing. If they still want to leave the lights on, I would suggest using low-energy bulbs and timer switches to cut down the amount of energy used."

But the Met hit back claiming their advice was necessary in the battle to cut the number of house break-ins.

A spokeswoman for the Met said: "This is well-established crime prevention advice that has been in use for a long time by police forces across the country and voluntary organisations who are concerned to prevent residents from becoming victims of burglary."

Shop owner Avril Castellazzo, who is chair of the Highgate Safer Neighbourhoods citizens panel, said: "Burglary has gone up in the Highgate ward and anything the police advise us to make our houses safer should be adhered to. There are lots of other things you can do to help the environment.

"While the Chinese are opening a power station almost every week, leaving a light on to protect your home is the last of our worries."

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk

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