A PETITION has been launched calling for more street lighting to remain on in a North Yorkshire town, after a man was subjected to a serious sexual assault.

More than 400 people have signed an online petition calling for more lighting in areas of Northallerton, along with further use of CCTV in the town.

The online petition - available at www.gopetition.com/petitions/street-lights-increased-cctv-increased-police-presence-in-bullamoor-park-northallerton - was launched following an attack on a man in Bullamoor Park in Northallerton.

In the early hours of Tuesday, February 17 a man in his twenties was sexually assaulted by two men.

Worried residents who live near the park say they are seriously concerned about safety because the area is so dark and have called for street lights – which are turned off from midnight to save money – to be switched back on.

The majority of the street lights on residential streets near Bullamoor Park are switched off from midnight, but lamps lighting the recreation ground itself remain on all night.

Another Northallerton resident, Craig Thirling, said he was so concerned he wanted to start a street angel scheme whereby people patrolled Northallerton at night and helped people get home safely. He said he had approached a number of churches in the town for help in setting up the scheme and was looking for volunteers to help.

But local councils say there has been no increase in crime since the partial street-lighting scheme began.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Before we decide which ones we’re going to turn off, we talk to North Yorkshire Police and if they raise any concerns, we acknowledge that and change it.

“There is no evidence that turning off the street lights leads to an increase in crime.”

Deputy chief executive at Hambleton District Council, Dr Justin Ives also moved to reassure residents.

He said: “Hambleton District Council is part of the Part Night Lighting Scheme led by North Yorkshire County Council.

“Prior to the commencement of the scheme, Hambleton consulted with North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council and community safety and as a result of this consultation it was agreed that all the Hambleton District Council lights in Bullamoor Park would remain on - all night.

“Since the scheme started there has been no reported increase in crime in the area. However, as with all new initiatives we will review the position periodically."

Dr Ives said the council's existing CCTV in the area was also helping in the police investigation into the recent attack.

He added: "We will work with the police to consider changes to CCTV in this area if - when all the facts are gathered - a change is required.”

North Yorkshire Police said they did not wish to say anything more on the matter.