NEIGHBOURHOOD Watch schemes were officially inaugurated in Ulverston in 1989 - and the occasion was marked by the erection of a sign on Central Drive, on the Croftlands Estate.

The sign was the first of almost 40 planned for the town’s 17 neighbourhood watch areas.

The scheme is the result of an initiative by South Lakeland District Council and the town council.

Councillor Eric Procter, Ulverston Town clerk Lionel Denham and Chief Superintendent Syd Monk, of Barrow Police, also played a part.

Also there were South Lakeland workmen Michael Murphy and James Steel to erect the first sign and members of the local neighbourhood watch scheme led by their co-ordinator, 80-year-old Wyn Langton.

Sergeant Dave Wilkinson, a crime prevention officer for Furness, said statistics showed houses had a one in 25 chance of being broken into, but neighbourhood watch schemes cut this figure to one in 100.

“We believe that these schemes do have a positive effect in combating crime” he said.

He added that the schemes also helped to bring people together in the community.

“Many residents of an area might go out early in the morning and not come back until late at night and never get to know their neighbours very well," he said.

“Neighbourhood watch schemes will help them get to know all the people in their street - that’s very important.”

Mrs Langton, a long-time supporter of the Croftlands Community Association, was enthusiastic about the Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

“It will give us confidence’ she said. “A lot of our neighbours will be relieved that local residents will be keeping an eye open for anything untoward.”

Local shopkeepers Geoff Adams and Nigel Wild, who are both members of the Central Drive Neighbourhood Watch group, said they believed the scheme would prove to be a success.”

Cllr Procter also backed the idea, adding: “Every home is a potential target for a thief.”