Police have vowed to crack down on the blight of anti-social behaviour plaguing Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park.
Officers have reported an increase in arson attacks, criminal damage to the band stand, plus break-ins to the bowling sheds and pavilion and say they will not hesitate to take action against perpetrators.
In August, Watch commander Geoff Shaw, of Todmorden Fire Station, revealed crews had been called to nine nuisance blazes in the park since June and urged members of the public to remain vigilant.
Police say they are working with the fire service and Calderdale Council to tackle the issues the park faces.
PC Ryan Stockton, of Todmorden Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “There has been an increase in patrols by police in Centre Vale Park, providing a reassuring visible presence to the community and deterring offenders from criminal behaviour.
“We are continuing to treat this as a local priority, however due to the range of demands on the police we are not able to patrol the park all the time.
“I would encourage the public to contact us on 101 or 999 if they witness anti-social behaviour or a crime being committed in the park so we can respond and take positive action against any offenders.”
Police can take a number of steps to deal with offenders blighting the picturesque park. A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson added: “It’s a beautiful park with attractions such as the skate park, playground, bandstand and the memorial gardens.
“The park is a place for people to relax and enjoy, however if a person wants to misbehave, ruining the park for the majority of Todmorden residents, then the privilege of using the park will be taken away.
“Anyone caught acting in an anti-social manner will be issued with anti-social behaviour warning letters, identifying the issues in the park.
“If youths are involved then officers speak with parents and carers to make them aware of the problems and ask them to work with us to prevent further anti-social behaviour. Should the same people repeatedly be identified as causing anti-social behaviour then the police, working with Calderdale Council Community Safety Team, will use powers under The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to tackle their behaviour.
“A Police constable can direct a person who is in a public place to leave the locality, or part of the locality, and not to return for up to 48 hours if the constable has reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in has contributed, or is likely to contribute to members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed. If that person returns within the dispersal period they are committing an offence and could be arrested.”