GAZETTE & HERALD: AN EAGLE-eyed CCTV operator has been praised by police for coming to the rescue of a lone man who was attacked in Chippenham's Market Place on Friday night.
The man was on duty keeping an eye on the town's 30 cameras when he noticed two men pounce on the unsuspecting soldier from Buckley Barracks.
Police say the 30-year-old soldier was the victim of a vicious and unprovoked attack outside Chas Hart jewellery shop. He was taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath by ambulance but was later released with minor injuries.
CCTV in the town has been the subject of an ongoing debate since Chippenham Town Council decided to axe Å85 000 funding.
Money has been found to save the cameras until next March but after that they could be left unmonitored.
Ninety-five per cent of the town centre is covered by cameras which stretch from Hathaway Retail Park to The Causeway with 11 in Borough Parade alone.
Police estimate crime has dropped by 58 per cent since CCTV was introduced to Chippenham in 1999.
PC Richard Tottle from Chippenham police said without a doubt the CCTV footage helped catch the culprits on Friday night.
"It significantly enhanced our ability to charge these people " he said. "The CCTV was damning evidence.
Jerry Hutchinson of Trowbridge-based security company SGS which runs the system said the modest operator didn't want to be identified.
He said: "I'm really pleased the offenders have been caught. It was all in a day's work for my operator but it's nice that he's been praised."