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Rickmansworth residents endured deserted Comet headquarters alarm sound for five days
An alarm sounding for five days in the now deserted Comet headquarters has been causing a headache for Rickmansworth residents.
People living in houses and flats close to Comet House endured a weekend of almost constant noise as a burglar alarm which began sounding on Thursday (December 27) morning could not be silenced until Monday afternoon.
Residents reported the fault to Three Rivers District Council's environmental health department and officers tracked down a key holder who was able to enter the building and silence the alarm.
However, within hours the alarm had re-activated and by this point staff from the council had all left for the weekend, prompting frustrated residents to call the police.
Despite numerous calls, it took another three days before the alarm was finally deactivated.
Rickmansworth councillor Paula Hiscocks has blasted the breakdown in communication between the police and the council.
She said: "I am absolutely appalled this went on, it must have been horrendous for the residents.
"It seems that the police didn't realise it was environmental health that was dealing with this and the council did not realise this may happen again after they switched the alarm off.
"Why didn't the police contact any of the emergency numbers for the council? On the Friday the council should have made some sort of provision for the police to contact them.
"This happened over Christmas, a time when people are off work and need to relax but were not able to."
The Comet building has been left deserted after more than 150 staff based in the head office were made redundant by the electrical retailer which went into administration in November.
Over the weekend residents voiced their frustrations on Twitter, with one user commenting "I am guessing there's a LOT of very irritated & irritable people in Rickmansworth today having endured 96 solid hrs of an alarm going off."
Another user added: "They’re lucky it’s winter. Had it been summer with windows open it would have been completely intolerable. Very disappointing."
A Three Rivers spokesman confirmed the environmental health team were aware of the problem and a key-holder had entered the building on Friday and switched off the alarm but it had triggered again soon after.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "Although dealing with noise pollution is not a police responsibility, we’re aware of public concern about the alarm and have been making enquiries in order to trace the keys to the property.
"We have also been liaising with environmental health authority Three Rivers District Council to resolve the issue."