Villagers 'reclaim' trouble-hit station

VILLAGERS who have been blighted by anti-social behaviour have “reclaimed” their railway station thanks to some flower power.

James Hore

VILLAGERS who have been blighted by anti-social behaviour have “reclaimed” their railway station thanks to some flower power.

Alresford, near Colchester, has been hit by a spate of vandalism in recent times with large groups of youngsters arriving in the village by train.

As many as 40 youths at a time had “wreaked havoc” on the community, intimidating residents and damaging property.

The village's railway station was particularly badly hit, with damage to bins which were torn down and thrown around, according to the residents.

Most of the trouble was in the evenings and at weekends but an increase in the number of transport police patrols on the Clacton branch line has helped get the problem under control

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And this weekend the residents' fightback continued when volunteers joined forces to help restore the century station to its former glory.

Flowers have been planted with the help of some green fingered volunteers and a £300 donation by train operator National Express.

Linda Belgrove, an Alresford parish councillor who helped organise the day, said the idea was to address any problems straightaway should they happen again.

She said: “It went really well, we had about 20 people there but we could have had even more but we did not want to get in the way of passengers.

“My husband, Frank, 'adopted' the station and really all you are asked to do is go down there once a month and report any damage and whether it is clean and tidy.

“But we wanted to be a bit more proactive and asked Karen Smith from National Express what we could do to help.

“There are a lot of us that really love the station and thought there was far more that we could do.

“It is looking really good now - we have scrubbed the station walkway and it looks gorgeous and anything that could be cleaned has been cleaned.

“If it gets damaged again we will be there like a shot to repair it again.”

Mrs Belgrove said news that British Transport Police were now wearing cameras on the trains had been welcomed in the battle against the troublemakers.

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