Teens have given up their own time to help protect a church from crime after working with police in Huddersfield to help deter vandalism.  

Officers from the Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team have praised volunteer police cadets for their work to help safeguard the Huddersfield Parish Church from vandalism following recent damage there.

A group of 13-18-year-old volunteer cadets worked with the Huddersfield Town Centre Partnership Team, Huddersfield  NPT and Huddersfield Bid to spend their Sunday ( January 16) clearing the area around the church of items which could be used to damage it.

As part of the cadet course, the Kirklees Volunteer Cadets had carried out a crime prevention problem solving exercise around the church and identified there were a lot of stones and pieces of cement in and around St Peter’s Gardens.

PC Stuart Clarke, Kirklees District Volunteer Cadet Leader, said: “The cadets felt that tidying up the stones reduced the opportunity and means for damage to be caused and so arranged to clear the area.

“This is a brilliant example of young people identifying an issue in their local community and working, as volunteers in their own time,  with Police and Partners to make a difference. I am proud of their good citizenship and being able to work with them.”

Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to two incidents in which windows were attacked by vandals at the Byram Street church last year.

In the first incident during the last weekend in November suspects threw stones through two leaded glass windows at the church causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

More windows were then damaged overnight between Monday December 6 and Tuesday December 7.

The Volunteer Police Cadet (VPC) scheme itself is a nationally recognised uniformed youth group for the 13 – 18 age group which aims to: encourage the spirit of adventure and good citizenship, promote a practical understanding of policing and inspire young people to make a positive contribution to their local community through volunteering projects.

Young people from all backgrounds are encouraged to join the VPC and follow a two year programme that is linked to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Cadet units meet once a week at a local school or a community venue to learn about different aspects of policing, take part in weekly drill sessions and develop their teamwork skills.

The cadets also carry out social action volunteering projects in the local community. Recent examples have included assisting with Community Speedwatch, test-purchasing and local community fairs/events.

Inspector Graham Dyson of the Huddersfield NPT, said: “It had been heartening to see the cadets become involved in work to clear the site around the church and hopefully deter more vandalism.

“Using their initiative, they identified the potential for some crime prevention work and have then done a great job with my officers and local authority colleagues to put that work into action.

“We continue to appeal for information regarding the vandalism at the church last year, and would ask anyone who can assist to contact the NPT on 101 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat   referencing crime number 13210626744.

“Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”