AN AFGHANISTAN veteran who was left with a broken back and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder says he is afraid of falling in his street after the council has started switching some street lights off at night.
Anthony Lock, 30, of Gainsborough Drive, Newport, has to do his shopping late at night due to his condition but says his side of the street is left pitch black from around 9pm onwards following the council’s decision to switch off half of the city’s street lights.
Mr Lock, who has a special cage fitted around his spine and walks using crutches because of his injuries, is now afraid that he is going to fall and hurt himself even further after the lights started to be switched off a couple of weeks ago.
The Argus previously reported how the council decided every other street light in the city, a total of 9,000 street lights, will be switched off from 10pm during the night in order to save around £200,000 a year. The city centre is exempt from the scheme.
Mr Lock, who served for 12 years with the 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh suffered injuries including a broken back and neck and suffered two brain haemorrhages after he was thrown from a tank when it hit a large improvised explosive device on June 9, 2009.
He has also suffered from post-traumatic stress since the ordeal.
Although he is on medication and undergoing counselling, his brain injury means he can easily forget techniques he is taught, which is delaying his recovery.
He suffers from flashbacks and also gets claustrophobic when with other people.
He said: “I usually go shopping at about 8.30pm when it’s quieter as I’m always on guard and can start getting aggressive and suffer from panic attacks when with other people.
“I haven’t got a social life,” he added. “I don’t see my friends any more and don’t see my family very often.”
Mr Lock, who lives with partner Rhiannon Williams and seven-yearold daughter Katie, says that he has tried to contact the council over the lighting issue but has had no response.
He said: “With the leaves on the pavement too, it is like an ice rink.
I’m really scared of falling and injuring myself further.”
Saving cash and cutting carbon footprint
A NEWPORT council spokeswoman said the council introduced the scheme of reduced lighting times of alternate street lights throughout Newport from 10pm to 5.30am due to financial pressures, and in order to reduce the council’s carbon footprint.
She said: “There should not be any streets where all the lights are off and this could only be due to a supply fault. The partnight lighting scheme is for alternate lights only and if Mr Lock has submitted an inquiry this will be responded to as quickly as possible.”