A street cleaner who was made redundant on Friday is worried about the effect job losses will have, particularly in High Town.
As part of the dawn patrol team, the man regularly clears up drugs and prostitution paraphernalia in High Town and has seen an improvement recently, but fears it will now take another turn for the worse.
He does not wish to be named as the council have told those being made redundant not to speak to the press.
The street cleaner said: “I received a letter saying I was no longer needed and they have deleted the post. I have been cleaning for about 13 years doing dawn patrol all over the town, picking up used condoms, used needles, used sanitary towels. The problem is only going to get worse now. Surely they wouldn’t make someone else do my job if I am no longer needed?
“I put a lot of work into this, now it’s like being kicked in the teeth. I was nominated for employee of the year last year and now I am getting made redundant.”
In High Town, a five year plan is in place to “eradicate” prostitution and associated problems such as litter.
He said: “The council said they would keep the dawn patrol as part of the five-year-plan. If they get rid of all the people who are picking up all the drugs stuff, what will happen? I want to fight for my job and for the people of High Town.”
A Luton Borough Council spokesman said they are committed to ridding Luton of the sex trade within five years, but a £369,000 cut to the street cleansing service means 18 jobs have to go by April 2014.
They admitted this makes it “unlikely” they will be able to maintain the same standard of service.
High Town resident Wendy Walker said: “I have seen (the man) down on his stomach, crawling along the floor like a snake to get all the condoms, needles, underwear from under the vehicles. He has given them his most and I feel so so sad.
“If they are taking away dawn patrol what’s going to happen? Whart’s happened to the five year plan? Winter is coming and the nights are drawing in. There are prostitutes out, gangs of children all having sex and doing drugs. Neighbours have gone into nervous breakdowns. What will we do, barricade ourselves indoors?”
At a recent meeting, High Town residents asked for more CCTV cameras to be installed but there is no funding for this, so in the meantime CCTV signs and mobile CCTV cameras are in use in “problem areas”.
A council spokesman said: “In regards to High Town, we will still clear and collect the drugs and sex worker paraphernalia. Instead of having a dedicated operative solely concentrating on this job, the area and locations will be divided between the remaining crews and town centre team for them to respond at the commencement of their shift. The benefit to this is that we will have five areas covered at the same time, reducing the time that we take to respond.
“We value the work of all our street cleaners who do a fantastic job every day and we are looking into options for helping those that are affected by redundancy to consider other work opportunities through the council’s redeployment scheme where there may be vacancies.”