Fri, 29 Jun 2018
NEWBURY taxpayers could be left with a £2,000 bill following a recent spate of “mindless” vandalism and anti-social behaviour in Victoria Park.
Several established trees have been snapped from their stumps over the past three weeks, while others have been heavily damaged and patches of vegetation destroyed.
In total, four separate incidents have been reported to Thames Valley Police – three of which occurred last week.
On June 18, offensive graffiti was spray-painted on the path adjacent to the skate park, while another offender spray-painted more around the bandstand.
The writing repeatedly referred to a group believed to be called TP Gang or Turnpike Gang.
It has cost the town council £250 to remove.
Two days later, two more trees were snapped off and another heavily damaged next to the skate park, resulting in £400 worth of damage.
Members of the public have also raised concern over a group repeatedly seen hanging around in the park.
Some individuals have reportedly been seen drinking and playing loud music in the evening, while drugs paraphernalia has also been recovered.
The town council has also received reports of mopeds being ridden around the park.
On June 21, three other established trees by the skate park plantation were snapped and a pair of spiral topiary bushes were destroyed, while another next to the bowls club also suffered damage.
There were reports from members of the public that same evening of a microwave being thrown around the playpark, resulting in £1,400 worth of damage.
Newbury Town Council chief executive Hugh Peacocke said: “These incidents amount to over £2,000 costs, which will fall on the people of Newbury or, alternatively, the council will have less services to deliver to the town.
“The council has reported all of these incidents to the police and we are urging the police to prosecute where they can gather evidence.”
Deputy leader of Newbury Town Council Miles Evans, (Con, Victoria) condemned the behaviour and said: “Mindlessvandalism of this sort has no place in our local community and we'’e determined to stamp it out.
“That’s why I’m calling for anyone with information to contact the police on 101.
“Resolving these issues essentially wastes ratepayers’ money that should be being spent on exciting future projects.”
In a statement, Thames Valley Police said it was encouraging officers to go through the park on their way into town and urged residents to report any incidents as soon as possible.
The statement said: “You can imagine that there is limited work we can do if issues of damage and anti-social behaviour are reported some hours after they occur.
“Please do spread this message to anyone concerned – time is absolutely of the essence if we are to catch these people.”