'It's just disgusting' - Arsonists burn down village's bus shelter
PUBLISHED: 18:01 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 20:38 10 July 2018
A Suffolk village has been left “sickened” after a bus shelter was destroyed by arsonists during a late night vandalism spree.
Wickham Market parish clerk Jo Peters said the “massive” problem with anti-social behaviour in the village had left some people too scared to go out at night.
She has called on Suffolk police to do more to tackle the problem, claiming officers had been slow to act following the latest reports, despite CCTV identifying the culprits in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“I’ve got the names and the CCTV but the police are doing nothing,” Ms Peters said.
“We’ve reported it online, called the control room, but no one is available.”
Ms Peters said the video showed a group of youths at the bus shelter in the centre of the village moments before the fire broke out.
Once the flames are out, Ms Peters said the same youths can be seen “celebrating” around the burned out shell of the shelter.
Suffolk police said it was not immediately made aware of the CCTV but has since begun inquiries to catch the culprits.
Villagers have been angered by the destruction, which also saw three cars and a flag pole damaged. “We’ve had a real night of it,” Ms Peters added.
“The parish council feel sickened by what’s happened. We’re trying hard to revive facilities for young people. We’ve spent £50,000 on a new multi-use games area, and we repaired the skate park, and yet this happens. It’s just disgusting.”
Ms Peters said several people had been able to identify the culprits who were carrying on “as bold as brass”.
The parish council has raised concerns with police about anti-social behaviour in the village.
Although Operation Parkland was launched to tackle anti-social behaviour during the summer, Ms Peters claims it is often ineffective.
“People are beginning to feel unsafe living in Wickham Market,” she said. “They don’t want to go out at night.”
Insp Andy Pursehouse said officers were dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour in the village as a “top priority” for the district and a number of interventions had already taken place.
He added that officers met the parish council last week and pro-active patrols would be held in the coming weeks.
“Police will continue to deal with crimes and incidents reported and would appeal to all members of the community to alert officers to any issues that are of concern,” he said.