Heritage Watch arrives in North Herts

Chief Inspector Donna Pierce is pictured with Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon within the Grade I listed landsca

Chief Inspector Donna Pierce is pictured with Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon within the Grade I listed landscaped gardens at St Paul’s Walden Bury. - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire Constabulary, with the support of English Heritage and Hertfordshire County Council, has launched Heritage Watch to the public – a new scheme which aims to protect the county’s thousands of historical sites, monuments and artefacts from heritage and cultural property crime.

Heritage Watch has been introduced at key heritage sites and museums across Hertfordshire by the Chief Inspectors.

In North Herts, Chief Inspector Donna Pierce teamed up with heritage site St Paul’s Walden Bury in Hitchin – an 18th century Grade I listed landscape garden – to introduce the scheme to the area.

Through the scheme, the constabulary hopes to further protect the county’s historical artefacts and heritage sites - such as the landscape gardens and manor house at St Paul’s Walden Bury - by improving communication between people who live near these sites, those who have an interest in the county’s heritage and the police.

The constabulary’s Chief Constable, Andy Bliss, is the national policing lead for Heritage Crime and Cultural Property.

He said: “Tackling heritage and cultural property crime is something I take an active interest in, not only because I am the national policing lead, but also because I feel it is important to protect Hertfordshire’s historical and cultural assets for future generations.

“People who live close to historical sites and those who have a real interest in our local history tend to frequent the county’s areas of historical interest more often and are therefore likely to notice anything suspicious or out of the ordinary.

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“Through joining Heritage Watch, we hope the public will become the eyes and ears of these precious sites and artefacts and report anything suspicious to us.”

Sir Simon Bowes-Lyon, owner of St Paul’s Warden Bury, said: “We all cherish our heritage, whether it be memorable buildings, gardens or Hertfordshire’s countryside. The support of the police is invaluable to protect our heritage; we warmly welcome their new initiative and would encourage others to support the scheme. There is much to lose by neglect and so much to gain through awareness and conservation.”

The public can sign up to become a member of Heritage Watch via the constabulary’s web pages: www.herts.police.uk/HeritageWatch.

Members will receive regular updates about issues or crimes at heritage sites in their areas. They will also be signed up to Neighbourhood Watch’s OWL (Online Watch Link) system which will keep them up to date with crimes and police events happening close to where they live.