CAMPAIGNERS calling for street lights to be turned back on at night have not ruled out legal action against Surrey County Council.

Objectors say they will consider taking legal advice “if needed” after being told Surrey CC has no intention of turning the lights back on “at this time”.

Last year, street lights were switched off from midnight to 5am across Haslemere, Hindhead, Chiddingfold, Witley, Hambledon and Milford as part of the county wide ‘part night lighting programme’ in which 44,000 street lights across the county went dark to save an estimated £210,000.

Since then, objectors have been campaigning for street lights to be switched back on.

Surrey resident John Lazenby launched a protest petition in 2017 last April and has been monitoring crime figures and how communities have been affected after the switch-off.

Mr Lazenby said statistics revealed crime has risen “dramatically” by 35.5 per cent between the hours of midnight and 5am as a “direct result”.

Crime statistics obtained by Mr Lazenby for all districts for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017, show an increase between midnight and 5am of 5.24 per cent in 2016 and 8.04 per cent in 2017.

His online petition at ‘Surrey County Council put our street lights back on’, is backed by more than 750,000 and he also presented a protest petition with 645 signatures to the council’s cabinet member of highways councillor Colin Kemp earlier this month.

Mr Kemp disputed how the crime statistics had been interpreted, however.

Responding to the petition, he said: “With regard to the figures provided with and in support of the petition and the analysis of them, council officers have reviewed the analysis of the information provided by Surrey Police and we dispute the interpretation of the information.

“I will continue to work with police to analyse whether crime had been affected by the street lights being turned off. ”

Mr Lazenby stood by his claims, saying. “If needed, we will raise the matter legally to prove our information is correct.”