RESIDENTS living near Beaconhill Park in Cramlington are being urged by police to contact them should they see any incidents of anti-social behaviour in their local park.
In April of this year residents launched a petition which highlighted problems with vandalism, disorder and graffiti just months after the facility had been upgraded following a grant of more than £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The area was plagued by reports of youths using the park for drinking alcohol and leaving broken glass on the ground.
But problems have continued and last week a public meeting in Beaconhill Community Centre saw police, council officers and councillors hear residents air their concerns.
Residents were told that if they see a crime happening they should dial 999.
Pc Steve Charlton, of Cramlington neighbourhood policing team, said: “When people call in a crime we need as much information as possible and then we will deal with the offences.”
Speaking after the meeting, Cramlington resident Barry Flux said: “Residents want a park that works; a park that is good in terms of being peaceful and a park that is also safe for young people.
“Unfortunately yobs have been making the area a misery for residents, and causing problems for kids in terms of drinking, broken glass and damage.
“We need a solution for the good of residents who overlook the park and for the good of parents and kids who want to enjoy the park responsibly.”
One youngster at the meeting, Georgia Leigh Johnson, said the facility is popular.
The 11-year-old said: “The park is always really well used, and there is nothing else for us to do around here, I think it should stay.”
However, one resident replied: “We don’t mind the park being there for the children, but it is being misused.”
In the 90-minute meeting, discussions took place about what improvements were going to be made in terms of the landscape and shrubbery, and suggestions were made to get youngsters involved in feeling some sort of ownership of the park to try and limit the damage caused.
Coun Maureen Brown chaired the public meeting and she said: “We would like the adults to enjoy the park as well as the children, but we would like the children to identify with the park.
“We want them to claim a kind of ownership on it and think ‘I want to keep it looking the best we can’.”