SECURITY measures are being stepped up in Radcliffe town centre following a spate of thefts and break-ins.

Since November last year, at least 13 town centre establishments within a 0.1-mile radius have been targeted by thieves, with one involving an offender armed with a machete.

New CCTV costing £32,000 is being installed at seven locations in response to urgent calls from concerned business owners.

Eugene O'Donnell, chair of Radcliffe Business Group, said: "There has been a spate of break-ins and burglaries at a number of town centre shops. Many of these occurred in February and March. It was one thing after another.

"Richard Anthony’s Jewellers had a robbery in the middle of the day, where perpetrators went in with a machete.

"The Bridge Tavern has had two attempts at the lead on the conservatory roof, they attempted to get into Bargain Booze twice, Deansgate Dental was broken into three times, Laughing Cycles was broken into twice, Lidl was smashed, the Blue Cross charity shop was broken into and they set off fire extinguishers.

“There was a bit of a feeling that no one cared about Radcliffe traders and we were worried that new businesses coming here would be put off, or existing businesses might close due to security worries.

"Something had to be done. I became very concerned about the situation so contacted Bury Council and the police to ask for action to be taken. We needed a better response.

"We have managed to get some more cameras installed in the town centre. Hopefully this will be something of a deterrent because it means that higher resolution images can be shared with the police in the event of further crimes and arrests can be made."

Bury Council is installing the new fixed point cameras as part of its £1million regeneration of Radcliffe town centre, announced in January.

The new cameras will be hooked up to Bury Council’s control centre, supplementing the existing CCTV system which is monitored constantly. Four existing camera points have also been upgraded.

The upgraded security has brought "peace of mind" to Paul Charnock, landlord at The Bridge Tavern, which was hit twice in November last year by yobs who stole lead from the exterior of the building.

Mr Charnock, who has been the pub landlord for three years, said: "We were targeted twice in two weeks.

"We had to have additional cameras of our own installed. The brewery, Marston's, had to pay out in excess of a few thousand pounds."

He added: "It gives you more peace of mind knowing there are cameras being put up. It is money well spent."

Classical Times antique shop and OVERdraught Karaoke Bar are among other businesses that have been broken into.

Sweet Harmony's coffee and cake shop had to close in February — four months after opening in Water Street – following two break-ins.

Richard Anthony, owner of Richard Anthony’s Jewellers, said: "This is happening everywhere. Putting CCTV up does not give us much reassurance. They need more police on the streets. We used to have a police station in Radcliffe."

The Radcliffe Regeneration Task Group plans to carry out other improvement works in the town centre, including planting, street furniture, signage and better lighting, to name a few.

Bury Council leader Rishi Shori said: "We want people coming into Radcliffe to shop or for leisure to feel secure and we want to provide a pleasant, well-maintained environment for them.

“We also want the businesses here, or those thinking of coming here, to know that we are looking after them. Attracting and keeping great traders in the centre of our town is going to be an important part of the regeneration.”

Cllr Shori, who represents Radcliffe West, added: "The installation of these new cameras comes as footfall in the town centre is increasing thanks to the success of Radcliffe Market.

“Although the camera scheme is a relatively small part of the overall regeneration project, it is a really good example of how things are working in Radcliffe. Our community is leading on the things we’re doing to aim towards a new and improved town."