Angry residents in Brighouse are fighting back against yobs that are trashing their local park.
Vandals have been repeatedly trashing Finkil Street play area by damaging equipment, writing obscenities on posts and leaving objects in the park including syringes, condoms, sex toys and used sanitary towels.
Laura Geller, who lives in Finkil Street, says there have been problems at the park for around 10 years, but there has been an increase in anti-social behaviour and criminal damage in the past 18 months.
She says she has had her car damaged twice by yobs throwing stones and glass bottles from the park and play equipment has been urinated on and daubed with racist and homophobic graffiti, all of which she argues has left the park as a no-go area for some residents.
Jay Holroyd, who lives on nearby Well Grove, said: “We’ve suggested having a warden patrolling it to scare them off, and we asked for a camera, but the council said we weren’t allowed to film children and raised questions about who would man it.
“The council say they’ve no money and that we have to raise money within the community.
“Another resident, Sarah Cunningham, who has been at the forefront of this, started a petition to save the equipment, but the council have said it’s not safe. So we’ve set-up a 30-strong group called ‘Friends of the Park’ to raise money for new equipment but is it just going to get wrecked again?
“It’s disgusting what they’re doing. I can understand it because they’re bored and they’ve got nothing to do. But my partner, who has lived in the area all his life, says he’s never seen it this bad before.
“The only answer is the police but they don’t seem interested unless they actually see someone doing something wrong.
“The kids from St Chads School have found sanitary towels and all sorts of things children shouldn’t ever find, plus they’re reading all these disgusting words on the posts. The council have painted over the posts but that just gives them a blank canvas to keep doing it.
“We’ve got to show them they’re not going to ruin the great British park.
“I’ve got two children and we play in that park every day. It’s time the police intervened.”
At a residents’ meeting with council officers, it was proposed that two items of play equipment would be removed.
Coun George Robinson, from the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward, said: “It is vital we fight the root causes of the anti-social behaviour whilst ensuring children do not pay the price for the ill behaviour of others.”
Andrew Pitts, Calderdale Council’s Head of Neighbourhoods, said: “It is with regret that the council has had to remove the basket swing, and will be taking away the large seesaw and the wooden posts surrounding both areas. These items are now damaged beyond repair and are not safe to use.
“A community group would be in a much stronger position to attract external grants to fund any work required.
“We have new community safety wardens who will start patrolling across Calderdale 24/7 in the next few weeks, and will focus on areas with the greatest need. We also plan to level out the area with soil, creating a wild flower bed and grass area.”