New scheme launched to offer extra police protection to Royston’s historic cave and other heritage sites
PUBLISHED: 10:14 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:14 23 April 2014
Royston’s historic cave will be among a number of heritage sites to receive extra police protection under a new scheme launched this week.
Hertfordshire Police has teamed up with English Heritage and Hertfordshire County Council to form Heritage Watch, which aims to protect the county’s thousands of historical sites, monuments and artefacts from heritage and cultural property crime.
Heritage Watch was launched at the cave, a unique man-made cavern featuring medieval carvings, on Tuesday, and Donna Pierce, Chief Inspector for North Herts met with cave manage James Robinson to discuss the site.
Mr Robinson said: “Heritage Watch is a great idea as the more people that are aware of heritage sites in their area, the better the chances are that we can keep them safe. We can’t afford to lose our heritage as it’s part of what we are and how we got here; we need to be proud of our history and do all we can to protect it.
“Royston Cave is a unique site as there is nothing else remotely like it anywhere in the world. I hope that through supporting Heritage Watch our visitors will be encouraged to join the scheme and help the police to protect these precious sites so future generations can continue to enjoy them.”
Heritage crime is any offence which targets the historic environment, and can cover a wide variety of criminal activity including architectural theft, anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.
The scheme will encourage increased communication between police and people who live in the vicinity of the cave and other sites, so that crimes can be pinpointed and reported at an early stage.
Hertfordshire Chief Constable Andy Bliss said: “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.
“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.”
Royston Cave, which is entered via Melbourn Street, re-opened last Saturday, and will be open every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday through till the end of September, 2pm-5pm. In August only it will also be open on Wednesdays.
Mr Robinson said: “The Cave is in great shape and we hope people will be able to get down and see us over the next few months.”