Campaigners calling for street lights to be turned back on at night have not ruled out legal action against Surrey County Council.

They say they will consider taking legal advice “if needed” after being told the council has no intention of turning the lights back on “at this time”.

Some street lights in the county have been switched off between 1am and 5am since March 2017, and since then many residents have been campaigning for them to be switched back on.

John Lazenby started a petition last year, and has been monitoring crime figures and how communities have been affected after the switch-off.

He said crime has risen “dramatically” by 35.5 per cent between the hours of midnight and 5am as a “direct result”.

His petition, with 645 signatures, was handed over to cabinet member for places Cllr Colin Kemp on Tuesday, June 5.

An online petition started after the switch-off has 7,514 backers.

But Cllr Kemp disputed how the crime statistics had been interpreted saying there had in fact been an “overall decrease in crime”.

Responding to the petition he said: “With regard to the figures provided with and in support of the petition and the analysis of them, council officers have reviewed the analysis of the information provided by Surrey Police and we dispute the interpretation of the information.

“It is generally accepted the data provided by Surrey Police is accurate, however there are a number of inconsistencies between these data and those presented in the petitioner’s analysis.”

Cllr Kemp said he will continue to work with police to analyse whether crime had been affected by the street lights being turned off.

Mr Lazenby said the response to the petition would still be fought and stood by his claims that crime had risen.

He said: “We will continue our fight on behalf of the people of Surrey and justice will be served. We now intend to up the campaign.

“This will involve expenditure funded by the campaign supporters to ensure that all Surrey residents are made aware of the campaign’s existence and the lack of care being demonstrated by Cllr Hodge and his team of senior councillors.

“And, if needed, to pay for a good lawyer to raise the matter legally and prove that our information is correct and the lights must be turned back on.

“This is just the start.”

The county council is currently carrying out consultation with borough and district councils over the use of LED bulbs on lights still switched on.