Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 11:38 UK

CCTV to monitor Hampstead Heath

Mobile camera in Hampstead Heath
The camera will not be used covertly

CCTV is to be used to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in one of London most famous parks.

The City of London Corporation said a mobile camera would be used in the East Heath and the Parliament Hill areas of Hampstead Heath in north London.

The state-of-the-art camera, which uses technology developed for the military, is to be directed by a remote control and a laptop.

The heath covers 3.2 sq km (791 acres) of parkland from Hampstead to Highgate.

Bob Hall, chairman of the City of London's Hampstead Heath Management Committee said: "The camera will not be used covertly, but will be deployed in a highly visible way and clearly sign-posted.

"We want the Heath to be a crime-free zone."

It would be a terrible, terrible mistake
Rowenna Rowling
Park regular

He added that the camera would not operate in the West Heath area.

"The City of London works very closely with the lesbian and gay communities to resolve the difficulties associated with West Heath," Mr Hall said.

Simon Lee from Hampstead Heath Constabulary said of the new technology: "We want it to be available where we have got large events taking place, large groups of people and as a deterrent."

Bank Holiday fairs are held in East Heath.

But the plan has not gone down well with some regulars in the park, including Rowenna Rowling.

She said: "You come here to get away from it all, the crowds, noise, CCTV cameras and everything.

"It [CCTV] would be a terrible, terrible mistake."

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