WARDENS acting as 'eyes and ears' for the police will soon be patrolling the streets of Northwich.
Vale Royal Borough Council has won a huge pot of Government cash to provide specially trained wardens to help keep the streets of the town safe.
The community wardens could target anti-social behaviour hotspots such as Hartford, Cuddington and Sandiway, which have been dogged by vandalism and gangs of nuisance youths.
Initially, four community wardens will provide a visible presence on the streets of the borough 365 days a year, normally operating between 2pm and midnight.
The wardens will work shifts, with two on duty at any time.
They will be deployed to hotspots where residents have complained of high levels of crime, particularly vandalism, nuisance youths, drug taking and anti-social behaviour.
The scheme has the backing of the Community Safety Partnership for Vale Royal and wardens will work closely with police.
Cllr Brian Lloyd, lead councillor for community service, said: 'It has been a long-held aspiration to introduce wardens to reduce the fear of crime.
'We want to work with the police and other bodies and consult town and parish councils, because they know where the crime blackspots are and will be able to tell us where the wardens are most needed.'
Wardens will not have the power to make arrests other than citizens' arrests but they will be given training in how to diffuse potentially dangerous situations and will act as a visual deterrent.
And they will be able to visit residents who have had problems with crime.
They will also be able to help by identifying areas which would benefit from extended spy camera coverage and will be key players in identifying areas to be targeted by the mobile CCTV unit when it is introduced in the borough next year.
Police divisional commander Superintendent Chris Richards said: 'We look forward to working closely with the wardens in addressing issues that are of particular concern to the local community.'
The total cost of the three year scheme is £350,000. The grant from the Government is £153,000, the rest to come from the borough council and the Community Safety Partnership.
The scheme has been introduced after the Cheshire Quality of Life survey, conducted with residents last year, revealed fear of crime is the main issue affecting people in Vale Royal.