CRIME on a council estate has been cut by almost 40 per cent since CCTV cameras were put up.

Firthmoor was the first Darlington housing estate to be given the cameras,which were installed and switched on in June last year.

A total of 13 cameras are now working around the estate, funded by the Home Office.

Latest police figures show that since they were installed there has been a 39.9 per cent drop in all types of crime on the estate.

The cameras record continuously and are monitored 24 hours a day from Darlington town hall by staff at the CCTV headquarters.

Stephen Harker, borough council cabinet member for community protection, said: "This is excellent news.

"Firthmoor was the first residential area in Darlington to benefit from close circuit television cameras.

"These results prove it's been a worthwhile investment. The cameras are reducing crime and they help people to feel safer in the streets and in their homes."

The Firthmoor Community Partnership Board and police in the area both welcomed the introduction of the CCTV cameras on the estate.

The next area of Darlington to get CCTV will be the streets around the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College and the Arts Centre in Vane Terrace.

These cameras, around the Stanhope Road North area, will be installed later in the year at a cost of £120,000.

A further £40,000 will be spent on three cameras at High Northgate, covering North Road from the Northgate roundabout to Morrisons supermarket.

The success of the Firthmoor CCTV scheme follows on from news earlier in the year that 3,000 arrests had been made in Darlington since cameras were first installed in the town.

There are 40 cameras in the town. They can zoom, pan and tilt, with colour pictures.

Those working in the CCTV control room also work with organisations like Crimenet and Pubwatch to try to co-ordinate their fight against crime.