Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Street 'linked to crime' renamed


Police in County Durham rename a street which was named after a family allegedly involved in crime

A street in a County Durham village has been renamed after police said it was named after a family allegedly involved in criminal activity.

The Wright family of Burnhope, near Durham City, legally named a street Wrights Way after building houses on land they owned several years ago.

But police say the sign is a reminder to residents of the family's alleged activities, including illegal tipping.

The family claim they are being victimised by the police.

Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton said: "There are a lot of people called Wright in Burnhope and across County Durham who are decent, law-abiding people.

"This isn't about the name, this is about a small group of people who have decided that they could commit anti-social behaviour and the people in Burnhope saw it and were frankly fed up.

'No criminal record'

"Durham Police and Durham County Council have listened to the people of Burnhope and one of the things they said they wanted was this sign removing.

"All the indications are that by removing this sign and renaming it Front Street, we are saying to the law-abiding people of Burnhope that they now run the show."

But Alan Wright, 45, who said he named the street after his wife, accused police of a campaign of victimisation.

He said: "I've got no criminal record at all.

"I was done for threats to cause criminal damage 15 years ago. That is wiped out. My wife has not even had a parking ticket.

"Where are my charges? If I am a criminal, why am I not in jail?

"We are being victimised. If I am involved in criminality, then send me to prison."

Mr Wright said he was considering legal action against the police.

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