CRIME will increase on industrial estates unless business owners vote for a scheme which tries to keep it down, campaigners are warning.

Owners are being urged to show their support for a third term of Witham Industrial Watch’s five-year plan to prevent break-ins and other incidents.

A vote on Business Improvement District proposal, or BID, will be held this July and, if given the go-ahead by businesses, it will run from 2019 to 2024.

It sees Braintree Council collect a levy from the businesses and give it to the group to use to keep the area safe and tidy.

The scheme currently has 82 CCTV cameras, ANPR cameras linked to the police, eight defibrillators, a gritting service, extra rubbish bins and a website for businesses.

Director Philip Lawrence, said: "We have achieved a great deal in the last ten years and the cameras have provided some important evidence that has helped the police and local businesses.

"As a board we strive to look after our members and this includes reporting issues such as fly tipping, large potholes, dangerous parking and providing weekly checks on the eight defibrillators."

Fellow director Neil Jesse said new directors are needed for the WIW board and warned voting 'no' would see the CCTV cameras removed which 'would lead to an increase in crime'.

He said: "As directors we are passionate about Witham; the next BID term will see new initiatives and will be an opportunity to build on our success.

"We will continue to share alerts and knowledge with our members such as training sessions on the emergency defibrillators.

"We will constantly review our cctv system installing additional cameras when necessary."

Bosses say they also try to work with the North East Essex Parking Partnership on parking issues on Witham's industrial estates too.

Essex Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: "Working together you can squeeze out the criminals from this area, making it harder for the criminals so they can’t thrive so they move or, even better, stop committing crime altogether.

"Intelligence from communities and information from schemes like the BID here in Witham are invaluable in building up cases against criminals."

Priti Patel MP, mayor Tom Pleasance and Braintree councillor Tom Cunningham also took part in the launch.