Bilton couple up all night to guard property after streetlight switch-off

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A disabled couple are so terrified their car may be vandalised in the dark they’ve resorted to staying up all night to watch it.

The couple, who live in Bilton, have described the car as a lifeline and have asked Warwickshire County Council to turn on a light outside their home because of their circumstances.

So far, the council has said it cannot make exceptions and Cllr Peter Butlin, portfolio holder for transport and highways, has argued that leaving one light on outside one house could even attract opportunistic thieves rather than deter them.

The couple’s fears were heightened after a relative’s car was targeted in the darkness elsewhere in Rugby to the extent that it couldn’t be driven.

One of the couple, who did not wish to be named, said: “Because we can’t walk far our car is vital to us, even if we were without it for a few days our lives would be turned upside-down.

“The only way we feel safe is if we stay up and make sure no one tries to take it, but going to bed at 5am and getting up at 1pm is awful - it feels backwards but I don’t know what else we can do to feel safe.”

After the matter was brought to the attention of Warwickshire County Council by former Rugby Borough cllr Bill Lewis, Cllr Butlin, said: “There was a spate of vehicle crime in this area recently the culprits have now been caught.

“We have discussed this with the police and they have said that switching on one light in a pool of darkness could actually attract thieves.”

He added: “There’s no evidence from elsewhere in the UK that switching off lights increases crime.”

On Tuesday a motion by Warwickshire Liberal Democrats to move a review of street lighting forward from October to May was rejected by Conservative and Labour councillors at a meeting of the county council. They argued there wouldn’t be enough evidence by that time.