Crackdown on yobs blighting village park

Police are to step up patrols in a village park after claims it has become a magnet for underage drinking, drug-taking and vandalism.

In the latest incident at Swan Park, Essington, police found 11 youths behaving in an unruly manner.

When officers arrived, they found rubbish strewn across the park, and one youngster was arrested for possession of cannabis.

One woman who lives near the site said: “It may seem like a minority causing the trouble for some, but we are the ones who have been threatened and verbally abused by drunk and drugged youths.”

She called for the park to be closed in the evenings. Another resident said: “I could probably name and shame a few of the youths as I see them hanging around the entrance of the park and walking towards the park.

“I have a nephew who is two and he loves going, but my sister is hesitant whether to take him sometimes because she knows that the youths will probably be there and it will be a mess.”

Sgt Tim Heap, of Staffordshire Police said officers made the youths tidy up the park following the incident on Saturday night.

“The park was a tip, with rubbish strewn everywhere, including empty alcohol bottles,” he said.

He added that full bottles of alcohol were also found under a bench, which an officer poured away in front of the youths.

He said of the 11 youths present, six were from Essington, three from Ashmore Park, and two from Cheslyn Hay.

“All youths were searched, and their details have been forwarded to our anti-social behaviour officer for follow-up inquiries and inclusion on our database.”

Sgt Heap said the park was now covered by Operation Athena, which targets areas with reported problems of anti-social behaviour.

Councillor David Clifft, said a Park Watch scheme was also being introduced.