Essex: Town's skatepark repeatedly vandalised by yobs

PUBLISHED: 09:51 05 August 2010

Keith Wheatcroft and David Green

Keith Wheatcroft and David Green

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HELPFUL staff looking after Great Dunmow's skatepark are being threatened by "yobbish" behaviour and are being forced to cope with violent acts of vandalism.

Groundsmen, employed by Dunmow Town Council, came forward this week after a gate and fence put in place for young people’s safety has been repeatedly vandalised.

Exchanges between teens using the skate haven and staff fixing the damage have at times become heated with youngsters threatening to “kick it off as soon as they’ve gone.”

The council’s deputy clerk David Green has been forced to contact police about the situation which is threatening to get worse.

“I will not have my staff threatened,” he said. “The fence is there for the safety of the skatepark users – they shouldn’t be destroying it like this.

“Some of the abuse staff have had to put up with has been disgusting.”

The cost of repairs caused by vandalism at the park is approaching the £1000 mark and the cash comes out of a budget for maintenance and improvement of the facility.

Mr Green added: “That is not what the money is for. The vandals are taking money away from where it is needed – eventually there will be nothing left.”

The park recently received a lick of paint but patience is now running very thin amongst the council’s maintenance staff.

Although not threatened himself Keith Wheatcroft is one of the men who regularly sees vandalism and also finds himself picking up smashed bottles, destroyed bikes, burnt out pushchairs and even drug wraps.

“It makes me feel angry,” he said. “You put all these things in place for them and yobs come along and abuse or destroy it.

“It makes you think twice before cleaning around the place. The youths just don’t seem to respect any of it.”

The skatepark was earmarked as one of the main reasons that Great Dunmow finished top of the village of the year awards for towns under 10,000 people last month but the recent spate of issues has undermined that.

Police have told the council that more patrols will take place in that area and anti-social behaviour will be monitored.

Mr Green said: “I’ve actually seen the kids trying to kick the gate off – when I asked them why they just said that they didn’t want it there. It is for their own safety as it stops people running into cars motoring down The Causeway.”

IS VANDALSIM a problem in Dunmow? If so, what is the solution? E-mail us at editor@dunmow-broadcast.co.uk or write to 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1EE.

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