A YOUNG family have joined in the fight to get street lights turned back on in Weymouth after burglars took £5,000 worth of their belongings.

New parents Carl Perry and Jess Lantree said they were gutted to discover that their locked shed had been broken into and mountain bikes, a toolbox and tools had been taken.

The thieves struck during the night and removed the items over the fence of their back garden in Knoll Rise at Littlemoor in Weymouth.

Jess, 19, was feeding newborn daughter Ellie just before 3am when she heard the family cat meowing but didn’t think anything of it.

The next day the shed door was found wide open with items missing.

She said: “It annoys me so much because they didn’t think about the consequences of this for our family.”

Carl, 27, a technician, was planning to use his tools to become self-employed. He said: “This is gutting. It’s taken me five or six years to accumulate all these tools.

“It would have taken some time for someone to be able to lift the stuff over the back garden fence, walk down the streets with the heavy toolbox, all the tools, a pressure washer two bikes and load it into a vehicle.

“There must have been more than one because of the weight of that toolbox and if there were street lights on someone might have seen something.”

The two stolen bikes are a green and black Kona Stinky Dee-Lux and a black Kona Shred.

Both bikes have specific markings and the Kona Stinky Dee-Lux is worth around £2,500.

Dorset County Council has decided to switch off nearly all of its 20,000 street lights in residential roads between 1.30am to 6.30am to help save £150,000 from its street lighting budget and reduce carbon emissions.

Members of the Littlemoor Community Action Group have launched a petition to get them switched back on because of fears about crime increasing in the area.

Carl said: “I will happily sign this petition that’s going around to get the street lights back on.

“I think it would be a deterrent to criminals. If it’s a cloudy night it’s so dark out there and you can hardly see anything.

“I would be happy to give a £200 reward for information that leads to the return of the tools.”

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We believe it happened between 6pm on Wednesday October 3 and 7am on Thursday October 4.

“We are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to call us on 101.”

Councillor Views

WEYMOUTH and Portland borough councillor for Littlemoor Rachel Rogers said that the county council needed to take note of the incident.

She said: “Clearly the lights out policy is contributing to increased fear of crime in Littlemoor and beyond. I think Dorset County Council need to take note.”

Dorset county councillor for Littlemoor Andy Cooke said he thought there was a ‘good case’ for the lights being switched on in various locations in Littlemoor and Dorset.

County councillor Les Ames, who represents Portland Tophill, recently spoke to an environment overview committee about residents’ concerns about the street lights being turned off in Bedford Road and Hereford Road.

County councillor Robert Gould, cabinet spokesman for environment, said the council would continue to work with Dorset Police to ensure ‘high crime areas’ were illuminated at night.

He said: “Obviously we have to make a huge amount of savings and street lighting has been identified as one of the areas we can make significant savings by implementing this policy, which has been rolled out across the county.

“We’ve worked in consultation with the police, town and parish councils and already keep streets lit where the police have advised us there are high crime areas and in town centres and so on where a lot of people are around at night.”

Coun Gould added: “Generally speaking there haven’t been any significant problems and a lot of residents have been very welcoming of the policy, in terms of minimising light pollution.

“We do need to make these savings but obviously we’ll keep monitoring the situation and listening to any concerns.”