TRADERS have welcomed plans to nearly quadruple the number of CCTV cameras in a town centre.

Epping Forest District Council plans to spend £45,000 on replacing the existing six cameras in Loughton and adding 17 more.

The scheme would see CCTV coverage extended up the High Road to the section between Brooklyn Avenue and Trap’s Hill, which has been welcomed by shopkeepers there.

Natalia Brandy, 29, manager of Hob hairdressers, near the junction with Brooklyn Avenue, said: “I think it’s a good idea.

“We have late-night openings and our cars are parked around the back.

“Hair products are on display on the shelves and it’s better to have CCTV. In the past couple of years, we’ve had someone trying to break in.”

Chantelle Morris, 22, of Forest of Loughton fragrances a few doors down, said: “It would be good for security reasons – I know there have been a few break-ins down this end.

“It means more security and it’s easier to catch people who steal things.”

The money will come from a £15,000 saving in the council’s spending on CCTV in The Broadway, as well as £14,000 from High Road developers, £6,000 from current running costs, as well as an extra £10,000 from council coffers.

The council said in a report that the current six cameras, which were installed in 2006, were not providing good enough coverage for the High Road and were unreliable.

It added that the police supported the plans and had asked for 30 images from the council’s system in the town centre between January and October.

The latest crime figures available, for September, show there were five reports of anti-social behaviour on or near the High Road and three of theft, as well as one each of shoplifting, drug crime, violent crime, criminal damage and arson and one other crime.

The council's cabinet is due to rubber stamp the spending at a meeting on Monday.