MARLOW'S police chief has admitted that officers were "sadly let down" by the town's CCTV network.

Acting Inspector John Hillier was responding to a question raised by town councillor Richard Scott.

Cllr Scott asked about petty vandalism and the smashing of shop windows in Marlow.

He pointed to a recent spate of this type of crime.

The Free Press reported last month how shopkeepers had become increasingly frustrated with having to repair broken windows and replace missing property following more late-night disturbances.

Richard Mustoo, co-owner of Mustoo-Brand, in Market Square, Marlow, was targeted and raised questions over the effectiveness of the town's network of 13 CCTV cameras.

Ed Gray, owner of Bang & Olufsen, in Spittal Street, raised similar concerns after his shop was hit four times in five years.

Act Insp Hillier, speaking at the Marlow Town Council meeting , said: "We were sadly let down by the CCTV.

"There was a problem with the actual camera itself. We have to make sure it is being used effectively."

On a positive note, Act Insp Hillier, based at Marlow Police Station, in Dean Street, said a high visibility operation on April 15 and 16, in response to these concerns, had been a success.

He told the Free Press: "Between 10pm and midnight special constables patrolled in conjunction with the usual town centre patrols.

"They focused their attention on Marlow High Street and the shops in particular.

"This operation was successful as we have had no reports of occurrences of similar incidents of this type since that date."

The two-day high visibility operation was followed by reassurances from officers to residents and businesses that more would be done to prevent crime on Marlow's streets.

Act Insp Hillier added: "Our work does not stop here. We will continue to liaise with the traders and monitor the situation to continue to crack down on this type of antisocial behaviour. People who commit crime in Marlow will not be tolerated."

John Lewis, from Mustoo-Brand, said he welcomed the firm stance from police, but would await the results.

He said: "As long as we see more bobbies on the beat that's the main thing. We feel very vulnerable."

Anyone who witnesses crime or antisocial behaviour in Marlow should contact police on 08458 505505