Beautiful park being ruined by yobs

Mesnes Park entrance
Mesnes Park entrance
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Bricks thrown at staff, verbal abuse, drug taking, smashed windows and loose dogs.

These are some of the problems blighting Wigan’s popular beauty spot Mesnes Park.

Many families have been enjoying the park in the spring sunshine recently, but not everyone appreciates the green space.

The extent of the anti-social behaviour there has now been revealed, as action is considered to tackle it.

Body cameras and mobile phones for staff are being looked at and Wigan Central councillor George Davies has called for more CCTV cameras.

A meeting to discuss the situation was recently attended by ward councillors, council officers, the police and members of the Friends of Mesnes Park.

Concerns were raised for the safety of staff as it was revealed that bricks had been thrown at them and they were verbally abused.

There has been vandalism worth £5,500, which included smashed windows at Mesnes Park Lodge.

Drug taking and toilets being deliberately blocked led to Frederick’s deciding to lock them and only provide access to customers.

The problem of loose dogs was also discussed, with claims that 22 dogs without leads had been spotted just during the meeting.

Despite the problems, the police said they did not receive many calls about anti-social behaviour at the park, but were frequently contacted about the neighbouring Pagefield building.

Various options were suggested for tackling problems at the park, including a security patrol.

While the council does not plan to install extra CCTV cameras at the moment, it did not rule out having more in future, possibly funded by the friends group.

But other security measures are being considered, such as body cameras and mobile phones for the park’s staff.

Coun Davies said: “Staff have been abused in the last 12 months. We are making sure that we have the body cameras and we are also looking if walkie-talkies could help.”

The various options available will now be looked at more carefully.

Penny McGinty, council assistant director for corporate contracts and assets, said: “Additional CCTV cameras haven’t been refused at Mesnes Park, there are many factors contributing to the cameras not being installed at this time such as the heritage of the park, cost and CCTV cameras aren’t always the answer.

“We recently met with the friends group, and also GMP to discuss the issues around vandalism at the park over the last 12 months.

“We agreed to work together to find ways that we can help prevent future problems occurring by having plans in place.

“Mesnes Park isn’t on our radar as a particular hot-spot for anti-social behaviour. The council and GMP haven’t received any reports from residents. Introducing walkie-talkies for the gardeners was not discussed and we are not looking at implementing this, but safety for our staff is very important and this is why body cameras will be considered.”