Housing Authority Catches Crimes Using Cameras Hidden in Smoke Detectors

Authority installed covert surveillance to break campaign of terror against housing resident


A Warrant has been issued for the arrest of a man caught on camera harassing a female neighbour.

Joshua Boyle waged a campaign of terror against the 25-year-old woman, which included threatening text messages, verbal abuse in the street and banging on her door in the early hours.

He was due to be sentenced for harassment earlier this week after admitting the offence but failed to appear at Nottingham Crown Court.

Instead, the court, which was considering a jail term, issued the warrant.

Officers from Three Valleys Housing had set up covert surveillance cameras outside the woman's flat in Sandiacre after she turned to the housing association for help last year.

Boyle, who lived in an adjacent flat block, was caught punching or kicking the woman's door on six occasions in November and December.

The footage was passed to police and was used as evidence when Boyle appeared at court on Tuesday.

Nick Lees, an anti-social behaviour officer for Three Valleys Housing, said it was one of the worst cases with which he had been involved in his 16 years of service.

Boyle (33), of Town Street, had become obsessed with the woman after she refused to take a friendship further.

Mr Lees said: "This young woman has been extremely traumatised by this ordeal.

"She was petrified by his actions, which seemed to reach fever pitch at the end of last year.

"If she was out in the street with her partner, he would shout obscenities at them. On one occasion, he threw a bottle through her kitchen window.

"Added to this were his abusive and threatening text messages and he would regularly bang on her door at three or four o'clock in the morning."

After seeing the woman's distress, he added, the association moved her into a safehouse and hid cameras inside fake smoke alarms outside her old home.

Boyle had continued with his behaviour unaware that she was no longer there.

Mr Lees said: "It is very satisfying that we have been able to bring this man to court.

"I've spoken to the woman today and she seems to be getting back to normality."

He added that Boyle had also been abusive towards Three Valleys Housing staff.

An injunction with the power of arrest had been granted to prevent him from further harassing his neighbour or approaching any of the association's staff.

The association said it was also taking civil proceedings to evict Boyle.