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Vandals damage bench in Hungerford

IT’S not just a recent rash of burglaries plaguing Hungerford, but antisocial behaviour, too.

Former policeman Trevor Wainwright posted this photo via social media of a vandalised bench near the Bulpit Lane memorial park.

Some residents speculated that the damage might be accidental due to wear and tear but Mr Wainwright replied: “I am now in possession of a photo showing the two alleged culprits sat on the bench in question and a witness who saw them deliberately jump on the bench and vandalise it.

“Apparently the two lads were shouted at by the witness who then laughed at her and they were picked up by their parents in a car.”

Town mayor Helen Simpson confirmed the bench belongs to Hungerford Town Council and disputed claims that it was in a state of disrepair.

She said: “The benches are situated in a very shady area and collect a lot of algae.

“[However] they are pressure washed, cleaned and stained every year.

“They are checked for safety at regular intervals.”

There have also been reports on social media of thieves drilling holes in vans in an attempt to access the interior to steal tools.

Mrs Simpson has said: “Please report every incident to the police.

“It builds a picture and helps us to get more presence.”

Following a recent crisis meeting between civic leaders, police and the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, Mrs Simpson said in a statement: “I am pleased to say Hungerford and Downlands will have two new officers joining the neighbourhood team by November.

“There are also two vacancies for PCSOs.

“We discussed the issue of officers needing to cover such a large area making response times longer and knowledge around local patterns of crime harder to target.

“It is hoped this concern may be addressed as the force completes a review later in the year (I’ll be keeping a close eye).

“Those attending suggested a team should be based in Hungerford full time, and another team at the opposite end of their patch.”

There was no resolution to this, however, and Mrs Simpson concluded: “We’ve agreed to hold another meeting in six months to see how things are going.”

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