A Battersea pensioner who put CCTV cameras on his flat to reduce crime was prosecuted by Wandsworth Council who ordered him to remove them because they breached his tenancy agreement and damaged the brickwork.

Len James, 77, was left with a £2,000 costs order, but said his pair of cameras helped catch a burglar and bike thieves after he installed them in his block of flats.

The retired plumber and heating engineer said they also kept drug dealers away as they overlooked the rear and front from his second-storey flat.

But he was ordered to pay court costs to his council after it got a county court order to have them removed because they breached a ban in his tenancy agreement to alter the outside of the property.

Len, who lives alone and survives on a £163 weekly state pension, said: "I'm a 77-year-old pensioner trying to protect myself.

"They are picking on and harassing a 77-year-old pensioner, who only wants to protect his and neighbours' properties.

"I am worried because I don't know where I'm going to get this £2,000 costs from. I

can't afford to live on the pension I get as it is.

"None of my neighbours have complained about my CCTV. In fact, quite a few are disgusted at the way this council have treated me.

"If anything went wrong my neighbours would ring me up to see my CCTV and I never said no, I said come up. Police have been here too - they go through it.

"The council don't like cameras on the estate because when we complain we've got the proof.

"But I think if more people had cameras there would be less crime - more people should have cameras.

"The worst crime caught on my cameras took place on the at my neighbour's. A young boy got in through the bedroom window and stole a laptop.

"The cameras got him running down the stairs and running out the back entrance of the block. He was caught by the police and charged.

Earlier this month a 16 year old boy was shot near Len's home and he says drug dealing on the estate has increased since he was forced to take the cameras down.

Len, who is divorced, added:"Since the cameras have gone the drugs locals have increased - they knew the cameras were there and they never done it in front of them and now they doing it where the cameras would have had them and I could have given that to the police."

His downstairs neighbour Aileen Joseph, 73, who lives with her father and grandson, said: "The cameras were very very important to everybody at Dungeness House.

"The council should have asked the neighbours before they came for the cameras.

"We are very angry about it because they were like somebody keeping an eye on you or keeping on your family."

Len is saving money to appeal the court order made at Wandsworth County Court earlier this year.

A council spokesman said: "Mr James was asked repeatedly to remove electrical equipment he had attached to the exterior of our building without permission but he steadfastly refused to do so.

"In order to protect the fabric of the building and stop problems like damp from appearing we do ask that resident don't drill lots of holes into the external brickwork.

"He felt we were being unfair so took his case to the independent housing ombudsman.

"It rejected his complaint and instead found that we had acted reasonably and in accordance with the terms of his tenancy agreement.

"When the case went to court he lost there as well and regrettably now has to pay legal costs.

"This could all have been avoided if he had stuck to the rules he signed up to when he took on the tenancy.

"Wandsworth has one of the best CCTV networks anywhere in the country. We operate more than 1,100 cameras including 700 on our housing estates.

"We are not aware of any particular problem with crime or anti-social behaviour on Mr James's estate."

A Scotland Yard spokesman declined to comment on the case because it was a "dispute between an individual and a council".