Councillors at “wits’ end” over continued vandalism to Takeley playground

Takeley Parish Councillors with one of the vandalised bins. From left: Trisha Barber, Trevor Allen,

Takeley Parish Councillors with one of the vandalised bins. From left: Trisha Barber, Trevor Allen, Pat Burnett and John Green. - Credit: Archant

Parish councillors in Takeley are at their “wits’ end” after continued vandalism to a playground that has run up a bill of more than £5,000.

The children’s play area in the Recreation Ground, off Chesnut Way has seen over a dozen incidents of criminal damage since more than £32,000 was spent on refurbishments three years ago.

The damage includes signs ripped from the ground, bins and picnic tables destroyed by fire, fencing torn down, play equipment broken or damaged and graffiti.

Takeley Parish Council believe that a small minority of teenagers are causing the damage and are calling for better policing around the area.

Councillor Trevor Allen said: “I’m lost for words. A lot of people worked very hard to get this project off the ground, and a small element of hooligans are depriving the community of its playground.

“We’re at our wits’ end with the situation. We do our best to look after the area but we need some support. Clive Swift used to be our local policeman and he would keep a close eye on the area, but there is no longer a community police team in place to work with us to provide any deterrent.”

Councillor Trisha Barber said: “It’s such a shame as it’s a beautiful little playground, and we want local families and children to enjoy it. But we have to start thinking as a council about how to solve the problem.”

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The councillors said they are considering CCTV and fencing as a possible deterrent, but insist that no decision has yet been made.

Takeley Parish Council chairman Carol Pratt wrote in a letter to the Broadcast last week: “Parents and carers, do you know where your children are, who they are with and what they are doing? As a community, we need to come together to ensure that the children of Takeley do not follow a path of criminality.”

Any information about these incidents can be reported to police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.