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Prosecuted… for installing cameras that caught raider

A PENSIONER who put up CCTV cameras outside his flat to protect against crime has been prosecuted by council bosses.

Len James (pictured) says the two devices have helped catch a burglar and car vandals, as well as discouraging drug dealers.

Court case: Council objected to cameras PICTURES: SWNS

But the council told him he had breached his tenancy agreement and had damaged brickwork. He has now been ordered to pay £2,000 costs after a county court ruling went against him.

‘They are picking on and harassing a 77-year-old pensioner who only wants to protect his and neighbours’ properties,’ said Mr James. ‘I am worried because I don’t know where I’m going to get this £2,000 from. I can’t afford to live on the pension I get as it is.’

The retired plumber said the worst crime solved by the CCTV was a burglary at a neighbour’s flat at Dungeness House in Battersea, south-west London.

‘A young boy got in the bedroom window and stole a laptop,’ he said. ‘The cameras got him running down the stairs and running out the back entrance of the block. He was caught by the police and charged.’

Caught on film: Boy flees with a laptop

Mr James said several residents who had bicycles stolen had got them back after watching footage and confronting the culprits.

‘If anything went wrong, my neighbours would ring me up to see my CCTV and I never said no, I said “come up”,’ he added.

‘Police have been here too — they go through it.’

Damage: A vandalised car outside the flats

He has removed the cameras but is saving up for an appeal against the court ruling.

Wandsworth council said Mr James could have avoided the costs by removing the cameras earlier. It said it had 1,100 of its own, giving it one of the best CCTV networks in Britain.