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Essex Police launch heritage watch

News / Wed 15th Jul 2015 at 09:18am

Heritage WatchLOCAL champions for Epping Forest and Ongar’s heritage industry came together today to launch a new police initiative aimed at protecting the past.

Heritage Watch, an Essex Police led partnership, will work with agencies including Historic England, the Police and Crime Commissioners Office and the National Trust to protect local heritage sites, and is looking for history enthusiasts to join.

The Watch group will look to exchange information and put in practice crime prevention advice in order to prevent heritage crime. This can range from the theft of historical artefacts to unauthorised building work on listed buildings.

The launch took place at the historic Epping Ongar Railway in North Weald today, where attendees from Epping Forest District Council, Essex Police and local councillors had the opportunity to look around the historic railway, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

Essex Watch Liaison Officer Colin Freeman, who co-ordinated the launch, said: “Heritage Watch brings together people who care about preserving and protecting our special heritage sites, like the Epping and Ongar Railway, North Weald Airfield, publically and privately owned listed buildings and monuments.

“Unfortunately, heritage sites can become targets for thieves, vandals and even arsonists who have little or no respect for people or property.

“We need to encourage residents to play their part in protecting their heritage and neighbourhoods in order to deal with these issues and preserve these sites for future generations. Together we can steam ahead and keep track of our heritage!

“I fully commend Heritage Watch and look forward to the support of those here today, as well as local residents”.

Mark Harrison, National Policing and Crime Advisor for Historic England, said: “Many people realise that heritage crime not only damages protected buildings and archaeological sites, but also the quality of life in their local area.

“We hope that local communities across Essex will come together to form Heritage Watch networks, that will make a real difference and will help us to protect and preserve the County’s wonderful heritage for this and for future generations.”

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I am delighted to have been able to provide financial support to the Heritage Watch Scheme.

“Essex is rich with sites of historical interest and it is absolutely essential that the community plays its part – by exchanging vital information with police and each other through the Heritage Watch Scheme – in helping to protect our heritage for all of us and future generations to enjoy.”

You can find out more about joining Heritage Watch by visiting our web page: goo.gl/cvj3rv, or by telephoning 101 and asking to speak to your local Essex Watch Liaison Officer.

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