A CHARITY has reassured communities that the benefits of its schemes will continue after it closes next month.

The Leader reported recently how OWL Cymru (previously Flintshire Neighbourhood Watch) announced it is to close its doors at the end of March due difficulties with funding.

OWL issues crime prevention tips and advice aiming to keep residents across the region safe from fraud and criminal activity.

Concerns were raised by Broughton community councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun, a neighbourhood watch coordinator for his area, about whether the closure would impact on the status of neighbourhood watch and no cold-calling zones.

He said: "I was very shocked and gobsmacked when I heard about OWL.

"I have been fully involved with them and a neighbourhood watch coordinator for about 15 to 20 years.

"Since setting this up in my road we have had no problems at all - it was bad here before then."

Cllr Armstrong-Braun said he feared that if the watch and no cold-calling areas changed or were diminished, there could be an increase in burglaries and other incidents.

"We need to know what the situation is," he said, "and what support we will have.

"I will have to tell residents to be more resilient."

But Denise Edwards, of OWL, said: "I understand everyone's concerns - whether they be watch members or members of the public.

"But as with all watch schemes, they will continue to be operated by those in the community. "They have the resources and we have assurances that Trading Standards and North Wales Police will continue to give the same support that they always have.

"As an organisation we have never been out there doing patrols - this is about building resilience in our communities. It is about everyone playing their part.

"So we would encourage people to continue the work they are doing.

"Local councillors are there to help as well."

North Wales Police was also approached for a comment.