Gardens now ‘no go area’ due to yobs

PUBLISHED: 13:30 22 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:14 26 June 2018

Katie Dawson, deputy manager, and Hannah Gait, The Clock Tower Cafe

Katie Dawson, deputy manager, and Hannah Gait, The Clock Tower Cafe

Archant

Hordes of teenagers have made popular gardens in the town a ‘no go area’ for residents on Friday and Saturday evenings, it’s claimed.

The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens

Staff at the Clock Tower restaurant and council staff at Connaught Gardens have complained of having to clear up litter, broken glass and uprooted plants.

Last weekend proved a tipping point, with the police alerted to youths causing a nuisance and playing music.

Youths have also been spotted on the roof of the shelters.

Stewart Fraser, restaurant owner, said: “The Gardens are now a no go area for the residents of the town on a Friday and Saturday evening.

The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens The Clock Tower Cafe, Connaught Gardens

“Something needs to be done about it and it needs to be done now.”

The showcase gardens play a key role in Sidmouth’s winning record in the Britain in Bloom contest. Popular band concerts are held on Sunday evenings.

But restaurant staff came to work in the morning to find the area strewn with broken glass, cans and cigarette ends.

“This was the worst it’s ever been,” said Mr Fraser.

“Our bins were trashed and we got an email from the council saying there was rubbish everywhere.

“The park can be such a magical and beautiful place. It’s not all teenagers but a few who are ruining the gardens for everyone,” he added.

A spokesman for East Devon District Council said ‘depleted’ police resources were prioritising the area and the number of young people was ‘putting some people off’ using the gardens in the evening.

Police had suggested ‘private security patrols’ might help.

The spokesman said: “We entirely empathise with Mr Fraser and we share his concerns about the situation in the area,

“Over the weekend there was further vandalism where flower beds were trampled and plants were pulled out, causing hundreds of pounds in damage.

“Previously we have not had a budget for these patrols but, given the situation, we have now been given the go-ahead for this action which we will trial for a period through the summer.”

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