Vandals berated as Petworth’s repair bill rockets

Mindless vandals leaving a trail of damage in Petworth’s Rosemary Gardens have been slated by chairman of the town Ken Lintill.

And he told fellow town councillors last week the cost of the repair bill was mounting.

“If it carries on to the extent it is now, it is going to start costing a fair amount of money to put right.

“This could mean that we will have to put up our precept to pay for it which will then mean everyone in Petworth paying for the one per cent who are wrecking things.”

He urged townspeople to be vigilant and help town councillors stamp out the worrying scale of damage which had been caused in the past month.

“It would be nice if the people of Petworth were a little more vigilant and kept their eyes open as we do need to stop this.”

He said although individually the acts of vandalism were not major, they were beginning to add up.

The seat had been ripped out of its mounting, bins torn from their fixings, burnt and sprayed with paint.

“It all adds up and it costs us a lot of money.

“This is stupid, wanton, mindless vandalism.”

He said the damage was being caused by a group of teenagers aged around 17 to 18.

Other damage included fruit thrown around the car park, and a piece of play equipment in the playground had been ripped off its spring and discarded.

Padlocks and bolts which had been fitted to the double gates at the top of the gardens had also been cut off.

New town councillor John Robbins said he had attempted to reason with the youngsters, but had been greeted with ‘a load of abuse’.

Police Community Support Officer Ian Luxford told the meeting that problem youths were the main concern of police at present in the town.

He said officers were taking a hard line with them, issuing dispersal orders prohibiting trouble-makers from certain areas for a specific time.

An £80 fine had been imposed on a youth supplying alcohol to under-age drinkers.

There were also increased night patrols in a bid to stamp out the problem.

“Unfortunately we can’t be there all the time and it only takes a few minutes to cause this damage.”