A DISTRICT councillor has backed a campaign by residents to have security cameras fitted near their homes.

The plea for 24-hour surveillance in the market town comes after years of vandalism to cars and properties.

However, Hambleton District Council has said that it would be going against its policy to extend closed-circuit television coverage in Stokesley town centre to monitor residential areas as well.

Councillor Jackie Griffiths has defended residents who live on West Green, saying that cameras would identify the culprits who have been throwing bricks at house windows, jumping on cars and ripping of wing mirrors.

"The council's policy of operating only in town centres just is not working - it needs to be more flexible," she said.

"The council have just received beacon status for crime reduction in rural areas, but they are just not prepared to listen in this case."

One resident - who asked not to be named in fear of reprisal from the youngsters - said his front windows have been broken about 13 times since he moved there in 1988.

He said: "I've lost count of the times my car has been scratched. I've estimated the overall costs at more than £2,500."

Hambleton's head of technical services David McGloin said: "If the council said 'yes' to installing CCTV at West Green it would have to do the same right across the district - something that it can't afford to do.

"Furthermore, the only place the cameras could be placed would be right in the centre of the green. This of course would mean the properties would be under 24 hour surveillance and the residence wouldn't have the privacy they have now."