Fury as anti-vandal fence is vandalised

Councillors Gary Wilkes and Don Hodgkinsonn at the vandalised fence
Councillors Gary Wilkes and Don Hodgkinsonn at the vandalised fence

HE was famously knocked down trying to prevent trial bike tyres ripping up the turf.

The bruising experience left him determined to seal off the park from motorbike-borne hooligans so that youngsters could play in safety.

Now leader of the opposition Coun Gary Wilkes has hit out after yobs returned to tear down part of a security fence which has kept them at bay over the past two years at Bryn’s Grange Park playing fields.

He and Independent Group colleague Coun Don Hodgkinson are now calling for a crackdown on such anti-social behaviour in a time when financial resources to repair such damage are in such short supply.

The fence cost thousands to erect, he points out, after a long campaign by a community action group.

Coun Wilkes said: “To say I am angry about the damage is an understatement and my reaction of hearing about this would not have been printable in a family newspaper. These youths who hang around the park late at night on their motorbikes causing anti-social behaviour are nothing more than scum and I don’t use that word lightly.

“This is the second time in six months they have vandalised the fence and caused hundreds of pounds of damage to the children’s play area. What on earth brings people in society to do this to their community?

“They should bring back flogging to stop this kind of destruction and I’m realy upset that people who live near the Park have to put up with it.”

Coun Hodgkinson said that community group Friends Around Bryn obtained funding costing over £8,000 two years ago to have the fine green mesh fencing erected, which also stopped footballs being kicked off the playing field and onto the adjoining roads, causing a hazard for drivers.

He said: “These youths on scooters and motorbikes park near to the shops on Chantry Walk which is adjacent to the children’s fenced off play area section. About three months ago the youths wrecked and removed three big section of the fencing and the children’s area was now open to dogs, scooters, motor bikes plus the risk of children running in the road.

“We finally got Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust to replace the missing panels only last week and then this happens when these vandals return again and damage two of the panels,”

He said that Coun Wilkes and himself are now campaigning for the installation of a Mosquito alarm deterrent plus a mobile CCTV security camera to be installed to identify these youths, adding they have reported it to the police time and time again with very little effect.

A WLCT spokesman said: “Wanton vandalism such as this is completely unacceptable at the best of times but these are extremely difficult economic times making this unnecessary act even harder to bear. Just two weeks ago we repaired similar damage at a cost of £1,200 and this further vandalism will cost a similar amount to fix.”