POLICE have stepped up their presence in Byfield after a spate of ‘mindless’ vandalism.
The cricket club in the village has been targeted by ‘boozed up youngsters’ on Friday nights who have damaged the fencing, broken benches and ruined equipment.
But after a plea from the parish council and the club the police have now agreed to increase their evening patrols.
Rob Lowe, treasurer at Byfield Cricket Club, said: “It’s been going on for a few weeks now.
“It’s actually been a problem on and off over the past couple of years, and what we think is happening is a gang of youngsters come down here, get boozed up and start thinking about how they can cause trouble.
“They’ve broken the barrier around the cricket ground and taken great pleasure in ruining the park benches and some of our equipment. It’s all just mindless stuff.
“It’s upsetting and heartbreaking for us because a lot of people spend a lot of time keeping the club in prestige condition.
“It tends to happen on Friday nights which is the worst possible time for us because we have matches on Saturday and so have to sort it all out quickly.
“The police have been very good recently but they tend to be patrolling at about 9pm and I think they need to stay out a bit later than that to catch who’s doing it.
“There’s not a lot we can do ourselves, but we are considering hiring CCTV on a temporary basis.”
Chairman of Byfield Parish Council John Gillic said the vandalism is a very rare occurrence in the area which makes it all the worse for villagers.
He said: “Byfield is relatively free of antisocial behaviour, which makes these recent incidents all the more annoying.
“Police presence in the village has declined recently so with each report we gain evidence to call on this to be increased.
“Although the damage may be low in actual value, the cost is in the time it takes to repair and the distress it causes to those whose efforts are so badly treated.”
PCSO Carl Barton, from Daventry Rural Safer Community Team, will be holding a street briefing on Saturday, July 2.
He will be outside Byfield Village Hall from 11am until 12pm to discuss people’s problems.
PCSO Barton said: “We are aware of the issues in Byfield and are stepping up patrols.
“There will be increased police presence in the evenings and we hope this will help to solve the anti-social behaviour issues currently being experienced by residents.”