A contractor at Belle Vue Park in Sudbury has hit out at the behaviour of children who vandalise the park and have terrorised staff.
Before leaving this week, Dan Morgan had worked as a supervisor for The Landscape Group, the company contracted by Babergh District Council to look after the park, for six years.
Having decided to leave the company, Mr Morgan has spoken to the Free Press about having to watch families forced to stay away and youths of between 10 and 20-years-old ‘running amok’ in the park, chasing park wardens with flaming aerosol cans, vandalising toilet blocks and ripping out flower beds.
“I have been unable to air my distress publicly at the way Belle Vue Park is treated by the youngsters of Sudbury, and the lack of support from a police force that I pay my taxes to maintain,” said Mr Morgan from Leavenheath.
“I have actually handed in my notice, 20-30 per cent of the reason is because of the dread I used to face each and every morning when I had to open the gates of the park not knowing what I would find.
“We used to employ a park attendant to maintain the grounds but due to ongoing bullying from the kids we had to abandon the post because of concerns over their health and safety.
“Dealing with one or two 16-18 year olds isn’t really a problem, but when you have 20, 30, 40 even 50 of them chasing an attendant around the park with a flaming aerosol, or locking them in the toilets by barraging the toilets it becomes very intimidating.”
The 42-year-old said it was almost impossible to get the groups to leave the park at night.
“I’m a big bloke and sometimes even I feel intimated,” he said. “The most upsetting part is that families don’t feel safe.
“We have asked the police to assist us in getting them out of the park but they just seem totally uninterested, citing it’s not their responsibility because it’s Babergh’s land.”
Mr Morgan said the Landscape Group was doing the best it could with limited resources, planting the flower beds, and repairing damaged toilets and the skatepark, but he said the flowers were soon ripped out, the toilets damaged again and the skatepark regularly vandalised.
He added: “It’s all a game to them and I’m at my wits’ end.
“The council isn’t totally clean in the matter. A few weeks ago the ladies toilet door was ripped totally off its hinges by the kids and the council still hasn’t repaired it.”
He also said some responsibility had to lie with the young people’s parents.
On Monday morning staff found all the straw from the pets corner in the toilets and the sink broken meaning the toilets had to be closed.
“The kids and young adults are running amok in Sudbury and it’s time the police got off their backsides and took responsibility for it,” added Mr Morgan.
A Babergh District Council spokesman said: “The council is aware of a recent increase in the scale of vandalism in Belle Vue Park and other open spaces in the area. The Council will be working with the appropriate authorities to try and tackle the problem.
“The Council has had to bring in additional resources to repair the damage but due to other commitments cannot always provide an immediate response, however, we are looking at vandal proof options such as steel cladding the doors to reduce the opportunity for vandalism to occur.”