THERE will be no hiding place for nuisance youths and crooks following the arrival of mobile CCTV cameras.
Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council has already taken delivery of two mobile cameras, which are expected to come into operation within a fortnight.
The idea is that the cameras can be set up in hot spot areas to gather intelligence and to catch people in the act of committing crime.
Favourite locations are likely to be shopping parades where residents often complain about late night antics involving teenage gangs.
Paul Daniels, the borough's community safety officer, told Neston Police Forum the infrastructure was already in place and that the mobile cameras could be put on a building or fixed to a lamppost.
The picture is then beamed to a receiver on the town hall and sent down a cable to a police control room in Ellesmere Port.
'The system should be operational over the summer. It should give information about what's going on in our hotspots,' added Mr Daniels.
Members of the public wanted reassurances the £38,000 mobile camera system, funded through the Government's Crime Reduction Programme, would be monitored all the time.
Cheshire Constabulary crime prevention officer Keith Parsonage said there were five CCTV operators who looked after 35 cameras which covered the borough 24 hours a day.
He said fixed cameras had been in place for six years and recently the operators celebrated the 600th arrest resulting from CCTV information.
He said that next to the CCTV operator was the duty police sergeant to ensure good communication.
Mr Parsonage added: 'Members of the public sometimes ring in on their mobile phones and ask, 'Are you aware something is happening just out of sight of the camera?''
One member of the public said crime levels were increasing at West Vale shopping centre in Little Neston and asked whether a mobile camera could be placed there.
Mr Daniels said: 'It would be technically possible to use the cameras further out but reception is not as good because it's not going down a BT system. It's a radio link.'
Detective Chief Inspector John Armstrong confirmed there had been an increase in crime at the shopping centre concerned. 'That's exactly what these mobile CCTV cameras will be used for,' he said.
On Wednesday John Roberts, principal administration officer in the council's borough solicitor's office, confirmed that the mobile cameras had already arrived.
'We are in the final stages of installing the necessary transmission equipment,' he said. 'They are likely to come into operation within the next two weeks.'
Mr Daniels said the Ellesmere Port and Neston Community Safety Partnership had received £70,000 to tackle the problems of drug misuse. He hoped this figure would rise in subsequent years.
It has not been decided how the money will be spent. Mr Daniels said some members of the partnership wished to tackle the issue of problems relating to alcohol abuse. But, unlike with drugs, there was no national strategy to tackle alcohol.
Mr Daniels speculated that this might be because alcohol was more socially acceptable.
He also commented that alcohol brought in a lot of tax for the Government.