Switch off’s first ‘victim’

On Monday Mary Smeeth  was jogging at 4.45am and due to the lack of street lighting she tripped and fell on the kerb at the bottom of Spring Lane. She had to visit A&E where they put her hand in a splint.''Pictured: Mary Smeeth where the accident happened, with her dog Sheila (Who always goes on the morning run too)
On Monday Mary Smeeth was jogging at 4.45am and due to the lack of street lighting she tripped and fell on the kerb at the bottom of Spring Lane. She had to visit A&E where they put her hand in a splint.''Pictured: Mary Smeeth where the accident happened, with her dog Sheila (Who always goes on the morning run too)
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A COST-CUTTING scheme introduced last month, which has left parts of Bury St Edmunds in darkness, is being blamed for causing a runner to fall and injure herself.

“I didn’t have any conception of just how dark it would be, it’s pitch black,” said Mary Smeeth, a mother of three from the Spring Lane area of Bury, who tripped up a kerb she could not see while out jogging early on Monday morning.

The 49-year-old, who is thought to have broken a bone in her wrist, is the young people’s substance misuse trainer for Suffolk and had to cancel a meeting with 20 other professionals, including drug workers, social workers and a psychiatrist, to go to hospital.

Her daughter, Laura Nichols, said: “At what cost is this reduction in street lighting taking place?

“I think the council may have severely underestimated the effects this would have.”

Borough councillor David Nettleton said residents in his Northgate ward had complained about ‘tripping over themselves’ in the darkness.

“We have a duty of care to people,” he said, adding, “I don’t think this is a good scheme.”

Sgt Richard Prouse, of Bury, said: “I have yet to see any notable rise in crime figures due to the street lights being turned off or dimmed, but clearly it is having an effect on people’s perception and fear of crime.”

Tracey Purt, of Lake Avenue, said she no longer felt safe walking her dogs alone.

“I want the lights on, I don’t like coming out and not being able to see anything,” said Keith Jackson, of Grove Road.

Chris Turner, of Springfield Road, said: “I think it’s ridiculous, not only are we paying for it anyway but it’s a real safety issue. I can understand it for the suburbs, maybe, but not the town centre.”

Suffolk County Council is planning to switch off all of its street lights up to six metres between midnight and 5.30am,