FEARS of a nighttime crime hike following the street lamp switch-off have been refuted by police analysis.

In January 2014 many of the street lamps in Epping Forest started switching off between 12am and 5am, in a bid to save £1.5m a year across Essex.

At odds with the believe of many like Lisa Perschky, of Waltham Abbey, who thought criminals would 'take advantage', Essex Police have found no link between dark streets and higher offence rates.

A study comparing an 87 day period between March and June from 12am to 5am, pre and post switch-off, found a 5.8 per cent crime increase in Epping Forest.

However, the rate of offences also shot up 31 per cent across the rest of the day in the district, leading police to believe higher levels of darkness were not related to higher levels of crime.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We have not been able to identify a noticeable increase or decrease in crime or road safety issues as a result of part night lighting.

"When there is an operational need for the lights to stay on, for policing purposes, say for example after an incident or incidents in an area, officers can make the request to Essex County Council for the lights to go on for a period of time. This arrangement appears to be working well and is a good way of ensuring for the safety of Essex residents remains a high priority.

“I have heard that many people feel say they feel safer when the lights are on but councils need to take decisions on hard evidence and the data shows no overall impact on crime or road safety of lights being turned off at night.”

Mr Hirst added he would continue to review any potential impact of part night lighting on crime levels.