Neighbours to tackle trail of destruction

Every Friday they stampede through Baldock, getting closer and louder by the second, before they pass through leaving destruction in their wake. Robert Wilkins, of Park Drive, has had enough so he is encouraging neighbours to watch out for the huge group

Every Friday they stampede through Baldock, getting closer and louder by the second, before they pass through leaving destruction in their wake.

Robert Wilkins, of Park Drive, has had enough so he is encouraging neighbours to watch out for the huge group of youths that regularly congregate around his road and cause damage.

The 53-year-old Baldock resident said that the spates of vandalism have grown worse since Halloween, when there were 37 incidents reported.

The damage they have inflicted includes smashed mirrors, scratched cars, Tesco trolleys placed on vehicles, destroyed walls and fences, plus urinating on property and theft.


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Robert's brother and retired policeman Paul Wilkins, 58, of Mansfield Road, has also been at the forefront of the campaign. It was estimated to cost nearly £1,000 for his car to be resprayed recently when they keyed it. He said: "Every Friday night I have to take it down the town to park it now."

The Wilkinses are trying to drum up support and are urging residents in Park Drive or Mansfield Road to report incidents and phone each other when the youths arrive to keep an eye on their whereabouts.

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Valerie Wilkins, 53, said: "We have put leaflets through the doors, but some have refused to get involved because they're scared of the repercussions."

The couple also have a disabled 17-year-old granddaughter who lives with them. Robert said: "She's too terrified to go outside or even in the garden as she doesn't know whether they'll throw something over the fence."

Len Lucas, 64, of Holroyd Crescent, is trying to set up a neighbourhood watch in the area. He said: "What we must remember is that not all of the youths are trouble, they just get misled and threatened into causing trouble by the odd one or two."

The majority of hooded or masked individuals are said to be around 14 years of age, a mixture of boys and girls, and are not all local, some arriving from nearby towns by train.

Pc Steve Gibbs said police are trying to tackle the problem. A camera has been put up and special operations run for the last three weeks. A few teenagers have already been arrested and some have had letters sent to their home regarding anti-social behaviour.

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