SKIPTON’S £50,000 CCTV system which was only installed last year has been taken out because it was sub-standard, Skipton Business Improvement District (BID) has admitted.

The security project was put it by a company but has failed in its delivery and was removed in October.

BID chairman Andrew Mear said: “We are disappointed.

“We were promised a top quality product which didn’t work properly and the images were not good enough to enable prosecutions.

“They did come back and made some improvements (to the cameras) but they were not good enough and we told them to take them out.

“In the meantime we can reassure people that we are 100 per cent committed to getting good CCTV in Skipton and in the New Year we hope to be having a new, better system installed by Hull company Connexin, who will also install a wi-fi system for people to use freely in the town centre.

“We have looked at the system they are installing and it is excellent. The company has a good reputation.

“We want to encourage young people to the town which wi-fi will do, while keeping the character of the town.

“We’re wanting to combine the old image with a modern image.”

Geraldine Thompson, BID manager, said: “We have lost some money on this - around £20,000 - which was the installation cost, but we didn’t pay them the completion fee of £30,000 because the job wasn’t completed. We are still hopeful we can get some of the money back.

“What we don’t want is for businesses to think they have been duped. CCTV won us a lot of votes.

We took the company on in good faith but after just six weeks, over the Christmas period last year, it was obvious the system would not be any good.

“The footage was just awful.

“We have learned the hard way with what not to do, and I’d like to think that the mistake has led us to something far better even if it has cost us a bit.

“We have to get permission from the town and district councils yet, as well as those businesses which will have the cameras on their buildings, but we hope to be able to use Connexin. I have seen the quality and the technology and it is mind-blowing, and we will have the additional element of wi-fi.

“Everything will be operated by microwave technology and together it will future proof the high street.

“It could bring with it opportunities, if the council gets on board, to allow people to pay for parking with the wi-fi.

“If everyone agrees, we are told the company can install everything within four weeks.”

She added that Connexin had roughly estimated the cost of all the work would be around £60,000 to cover installation, the CCTV cameras and their set-up, and wi-fi which would be on a par with 5G and the equivalent to fibre optic broadband. The company is due to forward a firm estimate soon.

Dave Parker, chief officer of Skipton Town Council, said: “We are aware of some of the problems with the recent CCTV installation, but it is essential that any system is fully functional and flexible for it to be of benefit to the town.

“The council is currently working with the BID and other partners on a revised infrastructure plan for the whole of the town centre, which will bring a range of added benefits, including the re-installation of the CCTV system.

 “In the meantime the council, and in particular our town centre ambassadors, continue to support the BID’s growing Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership initiative which links many local businesses via radio and the sharing of intelligence – all of which contributes to keeping crime at a low level in our town centre.”  

Skipton’s Sergeant Paul Evans, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Skipton was without a CCTV system for such a long time - around 10 years.

“From our point of view, any CCTV is better than none, but the system which was installed was clearly not suitable for prosecutions.

“Having said that, we are still committed to working with BID. Manager Geraldine Thompson has done a marvellous job in working with partners to help tackle crime in the area.

“CCTV is good, but it is not the be-all and end-all of security and all the other measures we have ongoing are working well.”