HUNDREDS of Eastleigh residents, as well as local councillors and an MP's have backed a campaign to have the street lights switched back on at night in a bid to reduce crime rates.

A petition launched by Eastleigh resident, Marley Dalton, to turn the street lights back on at night in Hampshire's residential areas, has been signed by more than 450 people.

This comes after the 23-year-old's home on Desborough Road was broken into in the early house of the morning on February 11, but due to her CCTV not picking up the offenders in the pitch black, no one was prosecuted.

Marley said: "I'm terrified to be in my own home now due to the circumstances. My other half works odd shift patterns which leaves me every other week, staying up until the early hours waiting for him so we can lock up together.

"Due to our shift patterns, we tend to walk our dogs after a night shift, but since the lights have gone out, that hasn't been an option. I have no means of protecting myself, which is a fear itself with our current state on our main town streets. This fear mainly sprung before our burglary.

"The amount of properties that have been burgled, had extensions, sheds or garages broken into is astonishing, but our councils seem to believe that our lights being off hasn't caused such an incline in crime within the last year. But if our dark streets are causing our CCTV systems installed by authorities to be obstructed then surely the time is now for change, the time is now for justice, It's what so many of us deserve."

As previously reported, Hampshire County Council took the decision to switch off street lights between 1am and 4am in Hampshire's residential areas from April 2019 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions and boost financial savings.

However, Eastleigh MP, Paul Holmes believes it to be "absolutely essential" that the lights are switched back on.

He said: "I have written to the police and Eastleigh Borough Council and asked if there is any way the lights can be switched back on. I'm very much in favour of the petition and I agree with what it's campaigning for. If the lights being on can help in any way whatsoever with police investigations, even if it's just temporary, then it's absolutely essential that they are switched back on."

Eastleigh Borough Council leader, Keith House believes that it's time the County Council have a "rethink on this" and that the Police and Crime Commissioner should put "public safety before budget cuts".

Executive member for economy, transport and environment at HCC, Cllr Rob Humby, said: "The changes in 2019 followed a public consultation and took into account academic research and evidence from other authorities. While we have received no contact from Hampshire Police or from Eastleigh Borough Council relating to CCTV or about street lighting in this location, I can assure residents that we continue to work closely with the Police and will actively review any arrangements in areas where they express concern.”

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: "We work closely with Hampshire County Council and if we identify a particular crime series that we believe the street lighting being turned back on would have a positive impact, we are able to ask the Council to do this."