Village at mercy of teenage vandals

By Patrick LowmanTHE picturesque village of Glemsford is known for its chocolate box scenes, historic buildings and close-knit community.But the idyllic village is being blighted by gangs of rowdy youths whose wrecking sprees have cost the parish council about £10,000 since 2001.

By Patrick Lowman

THE picturesque village of Glemsford is known for its chocolate box scenes, historic buildings and close-knit community.

But the idyllic village is being blighted by gangs of rowdy youths whose wrecking sprees have cost the parish council about £10,000 since 2001.

The situation has now become so bad that the parish council has employed private security guards to patrol its streets, but still problems continue to blight the village.

In the past two weeks alone, several hundreds of pounds of damage have been caused to the sports pavilion, while windows at the village hall have been kicked in and graffiti daubed on the walls.

The library has also been damaged, while a volunteer Santa Claus collecting for charity was injured after he was pelted with stones.

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Parish clerk, Sara Turner, said: “I don't know why, but Glemsford definitely has a worse problems that other villages.

“Some people blame boredom, but I think parents need to keep a closer eye on what they children are getting up to.

“There is also a low police presence in the village. Earlier this year we were given a second police officer to patrol the streets, but we never see them.”

Mrs Turner claimed children felt they could get away with acts of vandalism and called for tougher action when they are caught.

“We have three different gangs of youths, aged from as young as 12 to around 16. The problem is that they know when they are caught, they won't get punished,” she said.

“We have brought in a policy of taking out private prosecutions against the parents of any child caught damaging village property and I would like the courts to start doing the same.”

Mrs Turner has also called for the police to step-up patrols in Glemsford and get more involved with the community.

“This is the worst it has ever been. People are intimidated and old people are to scared to leave their homes after night,” she added.

“And this is not just happening at nighttime - a lot of the vandalism is being done in broad daylight.

“Crimes are occurring on a weekly basis and I think the inspector should come out here and have a look for herself because something needs to be done urgently. Glemsford has now got a horrific reputation.”

At the next parish council meeting, members will decide if the patrols carried out by private guards should be increased will call for a meeting with Inspector Louisa Pepper to see what can be done to resolve the problems.

Insp Pepper, of Sudbury police, said: “We are very aware of the problems within Glemsford.

“Myself and the two community police officers for the village, Pc Brendan McKenna and Pc Den Mullet, are working closely with the parish council and Babergh District Council to help to reduce youth nuisance and the incidents of criminal damage.

“We are very reliant on information from the public and would stress that anyone who has any information in relation to these incidents should call us at Sudbury Police Station on 01284 774300. Calls can also be made in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

patrick.lowman@eadt.co.uk

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