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Police step up patrols following vandalism at Ladyhill Park, Allerton
10:00am Friday 7th September 2012 in News
Police have launched an action plan to tackle young vandals who have been blighting new £175,000 play areas in a Bradford park.
Extra patrols have been drafted in at Ladyhill Park, Allerton , with young culprits facing measures such as community payback, where they have to repair the damage they have done, and prosecution.
Youngsters caught committing acts of vandalism could also be taken back to their parents, who will be told about their behaviour.
Tens of thousands of pounds have been spent in a two-year revamp of the park, with separate play areas being built for young children and teenagers. The amenities include a skate park and multi-sports area, roundabout, swings, seesaw, trampoline, embankment slide, zip-wire, stepping boulders and stilts.
But in recent weeks, older children have scrawled graffiti and caused damage, including breaking down fencing, defacing a climbing wall, damaging a bowling green and dumping beer cans.
Inspector Tom Horner, of North Bradford Neighbourhood Policing Team, said patrols by his officers and council wardens had been stepped up.
He said: “We are visiting the park several times a day. My message is quite clear. We will not tolerate criminal damage and we will prosecute offenders.
“It is a lovely park and if we find children committing offences, we will be getting them to clean up the mess.”
Insp Horner said for low-level offences, children would be taken home and their parents informed. For more serious offences, they could be arrested and charged with criminal damage. Anti-social behaviour orders are also an option.
He added: “It’s a fantastic facility and a lot of investment has gone into it, but it only takes a small number of people to spoil it. We encourage people to report incidents as soon as they happen and we will get officers there as soon as possible.”
Leanne Thorne, of the Friends of Ladyhill Park group, which organised the park improvements, said: “It has taken us two years of hard work to provide these new facilities. We are wanting to better the area and make it nice for kids, and some people want to spoil it. It’s incredibly frustrating.”
Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green ), whose three children play in the park, added: “The new equipment in the park is absolutely brilliant and it is a real kick in the teeth that it has been vandalised. It’s a very small minority who spoil it for everyone else.
“I absolutely welcome the action being taken. High-visibility patrols encourage ordinary members of the public to speak out when they see misbehaviour.”
Anti-social behaviour can be reported to police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.