Volunteers fed up as 'mindless vandals' trash park in Pontefract

Dr Colin White
Dr Colin White

The chairman of a friends group set up to improve a much-loved Pontefract park says he is fed up with youngsters trashing it.

Dr Colin White said Friarwood Valley Gardens was being repeatedly "blighted by antisocial behaviour and gratuitous vandalism"

Gangs of youths have been lighting fires, dropping litter and damaging trees, plants and information boards at the park, on Mayor's Walk in the town.

Dr White said: "It is all such stupid, silly activity that spoils the park for everybody else. These people are not being respectful to everyone else who uses and enjoys Valley Gardens.

"It is a public park there for the young, the elderly, and families. It is for everyone so it's upsetting when it seems like we are taking two steps forward and another step back because things are being trashed.

"It's very frustrating and discouraging."

Dr White said the Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens were spending hours of their time clearing up and were committing their "limited" funds to repair the damage.

He said: "It's a common problem across our community and has always occurred. So should we be resigned to antisocial behaviour as a fact of life or should we do something about it and if so what should be done?"

Police regularly patrol the area and Wakefield Council teams also work to clear litter and fix damage.

Inspector Paul Sullivan, of the Pontefract and Knottingley Neighbourhood Police Team, said: "These are people who are not thinking really about anyone else's enjoyment of the park.

"They are thinking it is funny to damage and destroy what is a really beautiful area of Pontefract.

"I am extremely disappointed that these gangs of youths really don't care about where they live. It is mindless damage.

"We are patrolling the area, looking at CCTV and where we find people offending, we will take action against it."