‘Town needs safety support’

Reassurance: Tom Booth, chair of the Leyland Business Group
Reassurance: Tom Booth, chair of the Leyland Business Group

Leyland traders are being asked to consider setting up a radio system to protect shop workers against crime.

After an armed robbery at the Lloyd’s TSB bank on Hough Lane last week, chairman of the Leyland Business Group, Tom Booth, says something could be done to make workers feel more secure.

Tom, who runs the Bean Drinking coffee shop, said: “When an independent business is targeted, it can mark the end of it.

“It’s not just about losing money, it can also ruin a business’s reputation, and it can really affect staff too.

“They could be injured or leave altogether.”

Tom, who has worked in other towns before he settled down in Leyland, said the area could benefit from people looking out for each other.

At the moment, workers speak to one another on the street, but there is no communication in the form of telephones of radio systems.

“Having that assurance would be taking things to the next level,” he said. “I definitely think it’s a good idea, but I know from previous experience that it’s easier said than done.

“I managed to set up a type of neighbourhood-watch scheme in another town, but it took nine months to get off the ground, and you do find that once you start mentioning money, people back off.

“Traders in Leyland might be more willing to consider something like that in light of the recent robbery, but I think it would need everyone to get on board to make it a success.”

The Leyland Business Group has regular meetings throughout the year, and Tom hopes to breach the subject at the next gathering.

He said: “The group is still in its early days, and it’s a free networking group where people can meet and share advice.

“It’s going well, but I think it’s sensible to let it get off the ground first before mentioning things like contributing financially to a radio system or maybe CCTV cameras.

“It would be ideal if we could get something set up before Christmas, but I don’t think that will happen.

“If I bring it up at the summer meeting, we may be able to establish something by next spring.”