The cost of security at axed fire stations Downham and Woolwich over the next couple of years is expected to total around £138,000.

Both stations were closed in January under the Mayor of London’s Fifth London Safety Plan  which aimed to save £29million by closing 10 stations across the capital and cutting 552 firefighters’ jobs.

News Shopper: Vigil held at Woolwich fire station

But the cost of protecting these empty buildings – from problems such as squatters - will total £68,786 each by the end of 2015, according to new figures obtained by Caroline Pidgeon AM.

More than 4,000 residents signed a petition against the closure of Downham station, in Reigate Road, which was handed in to City Hall by the Lib Dems in January last year.

News Shopper: Vigil held at Downham fire station closed

Lib Dem Downham ward councillor Cllr Julia Fletcher said: “Downham fire station should never have closed. We were told the reason it and other stations across London had to go was to save money, yet now the taxpayer has to fork out £69,000 just to protect an empty building.”

A London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesman says the security costs will not be as high if the buildings are sold before the end of 2015.

He said:“The cost of security is a one off payment and is off set by the millions saved every year by closing these stations.

“Once closed, it was important to make sure the buildings were safe and secure in order to achieve resale and avoid squatting and other public nuisances.

“The disposal was agreed by members of the fire authority and the Brigade continues to maintain existing response time targets of getting the first fire engine to an incident in six minutes, on average across London, and the second, if needed, in eight minutes.”