Police have praised the Peterborough Evening Telegraph after spy camera footage of a young boy being attacked featured on the front page – and on the paper’s website.
Cambridgeshire police took the unprecedented step of releasing footage to the paper in the hope of rejuvenating the month-old investigation.
Three still images were taken from the CCTV and used in the paper on pages one and two, while the video was shown in full on the website.
More than 5,000 people viewed the video – which carried a warning that it could cause distress because of the nature of the incident – before it was withdrawn for legal reasons when an arrest was made.
Dozens of website visitors left comments on the story, some offering names of those allegedly involved.
The following day the front page reported on the arrest – and the praise from DS Mike Beales.
He said: “We have had a very encouraging response as a result of releasing this footage and would like to thank readers of The Evening Telegraph for contacting us.
“We received calls and I also monitored the ET website throughout the day yesterday and the comments which readers posted on it.”
He said leads to the inquiry had been “drying up” until the video was released in the public domain.
Assistant editor Brad Barnes, who is responsible for the ET’s digital operations, said: “We carry police appeals in the paper on online every day, but this was completely different,
“Not only was it a first for Cambridgeshire Police, releasing the CCTV video footage, but it was a first for us too in carrying it.
“The huge public response shows what can be achieved when our printed product and our website are used together.
“It is clearly the way forward and, hopefully, we can do something similar with the police again.”