KNUTSFORD Market Hall is to be scanned via CCTV in a bid to tackle thefts from stalls.

Knutsford Town Council is to spend £595 on installing four cameras, two above each entrance and two at the opposite end of the market hall.

The images would be used strictly for investigating alleged thefts or disturbances in the market and for investigating other issues such as an accident.

The move to install a CCTV system is in response to calls from traders, who have reported a series of petty thefts over the past 18 months.

The items stolen have included a large number of expensive tea bags, a large quantity of raw meat, an empty cash box, electrical leads and watch batteries.

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said in a report to Monday’s Assets and Operations Committee meeting via Zoom: “While petty, the thefts have built up over time to a point where the traders feel a market-wide CCTV would act as a deterrent.

“This would also support them during the immediate post-Covid retail trading conditions.”

Market trader Jane Smyth told the meeting: “For some time now we have had petty thefts in the market when the market is closed.

“They are such petty thefts - cables, plug sockets, charging wires - and we’re really at a loss to know who is stealing these items.”

Fellow market trader Charlene Stuart, from The Plastic Free Weigh, said: “I’ve had quite a few bits from my stall go missing over the last 12 months.

“Some of it has been quite expensive – I’ve had loads of loose leaf tea disappear and lots of packets of dental tabs.

“I’ve rung 101 to try and report these things, but it’s very difficult to pursue it any further when there’s no evidence.

“It would be a real advantage to all of us who work there to be able to have some way of evidencing what’s happening in the market hall.”

Cllr Neil Forbes said having a proper CCTV system installed in the market, along with a sign highlighting the system, would probably stop the thefts.

Cllr Peter Coan said he suspected the thefts were taking place when the market café was open but the stalls were shut and screened off.

The committee agreed to install the CCTV system subject to the agreement of all the traders.

Adam said in his report: "Visitors would be alerted to the CCTV by signage at the entrance. The footage would be accessible to view remotely in the council offices and would only be accessed by authorised officers.

"It would be disclosed to the police in the event of a crime being recorded or to insurance companies if requested; footage would not be disclosed to any other third party."