ACTION will be taken to provide surveillance cameras for Sidcup town centre, Bexley council leader Councillor Mike Slaughter has promised.

He was responding to a petition from hundreds of traders and shoppers asking the council to find cash in this year's budget to pay for CCTV cameras for Sidcup High Street.

They were furious after being turned down for cash for a CCTV system by the Home Office last month. What made them angrier was that in the list of priorities, cameras for Sidcup came below CCTV for car parks in Abbey Wood.

The petition, signed by more than 300 people, will be handed in to the council's new cabinet by Labour group leader Cllr Chris Ball for its first meeting next month.

Last month, Sidcup trader Mike Lowe urged Bexley to pick up the estimated £100,000 cost of the scheme from the council's reserves.

He said: “The council cannot leave Sidcup out on a limb.”

The delegation of shopkeepers who presented the petition was led by Labour's parliamentary hopeful for the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency, Jim Dickson.

Mr Dickson said: “Local people are very worried crime is being displaced into Sidcup as CCTV is installed in neighbouring areas.

“The council placed Sidcup at the bottom of its list of bids to the Home Office for CCTV this year and it is up to Bexley to pick up the funding now,to prevent Sidcup from becoming a worse crime hot spot.”

Cllr Slaughter, who lives in Sidcup, said: “We were disappointed the Home Office did not give the money for Sidcup but we are looking at alternative ways of trying to get round the problem.

“I understand why the shopkeepers were angr, but it wasn't Bexley which decided on the priorities.

“We have just set our budget so I cannot say the money is there.

“Something will have to happen in the near future although I cannot say how near that will be.”

He said in the meantime, the borough's mobile CCTV unit was a help in targeting particular trouble spots.