A town’s CCTV system has been used in helping to solve more than 11,000 incidents in 20 years.

Oswestry Town Council was told the system has been hailed as one of the best CCTV operations in the West Midlands at the annual town meeting on Wednesday.

CCTV co-ordinator Jim Stafford said Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) officers had said it was the best system they had ever used.

He said the picture quality was now so high it meant offenders would be caught.

“We have had detectives from the wider West Midlands area and SOCA officers, none of who I know, who have come to use the system to help with their investigations and they have said it is the best they have ever used,” he said.

“We are proud of the system. When it was brought in, it was to help tackle crime in Oswestry’s nightlife.

“Back in 2001, the nightlife in the town was a lot different and I was working for the police then.

“There were fights and windows being smashed regularly and the system has really helped crack down on that.

“The nightlife has now changed in Oswestry. And yes, while it may be quieter in town on a weekend evening now, there are also fewer police officers due to cuts.

“This system means that we can get high quality recordings and it helps the police out in that way.

“It also saves police and court time. Quite often when faced with footage that is indisputable people will admit their guilt at the earliest opportunity.

“This then frees up court time and stops officers having to be tied up at court for a day or two.

“It has also helped secure convictions.”

Mr Stafford said the system had been used in 11,208 incidents in 20 years.

He added that a team of volunteers man the system and that there ages span between 19 and the eldest volunteer, who turns 100 this summer.

“They would be costing us £18,000-a-year on a minimum wage contract so they are invaluable,” he said.

“Long may this fantastic system continue because it has been such a valuable service in helping people in this town and ensure their safety.

“It is something to be proud of.”

Councillor Paul Milner said the system had proved invaluable, especially to shopkeepers.

“I remember back before the system came in businesses had a terrible time of it with shop windows being smashed in over the weekend, it really was bad,” he said.

“But this system has really reduced that and helped almost put a stop to it.

“I had one shopkeeper tell me he had 400 incidents of damage to his shop windows in four years before this system”

Councillor Peter Cherrington added: “The support the system gives this town is just tremendous.”