NORTHUMBRIA Police are asking town councils to pay for the purchase of new cameras to help identify vehicles in their neighbourhoods.

Councils in Hexham, Haltwhistle, and Ponteland have all been contacted with a request to pay £5,000 for an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera.

The force is looking to increase its ANPR capacity, with the technology used in policing for a variety of purposes.

The cameras can help officers by locating vehicles of interest, providing support for investigations and improving major and serious crime investigations.

In a letter to Haltwhistle Town Council, neighbourhood inspector Pam Bridges said: “If we can increase ANPR coverage in partnership within Northumberland and the rural sectors, this will greatly help us prevent and tackle crime and safeguard the public.”

However, at the town council’s meeting last Monday, councillors decided that the council did not have the money to fund a camera.

Coun. Margaret Forrest suggested the council complain to the Home Secretary over police funding, although the proposal was voted down.

Coun. Forrest said: “We’re asked to pay that much more, and for some people that’s difficult.

“I think we should write to the Home Secretary complaining about the attitude to this area and how our money is being spent.

“Our police force has been cut to the bare minimum. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”