Police say vandalism has 'reared its ugly head' in Rose Hill and Littlemore

Published: 29 May 2018

VANDALS have caused thousands of pounds of damage in Oxford by defacing playground equipment and torching a picnic bench.

Two recreation grounds in Littlemore have been targeted in the past few months, and councillors are now considering closing the parks at night or removing the equipment if it persists.

Macer Wicker, who sits on Littlemore Parish Council, said vandalism in public play areas was a key issue faced by the council.

Speaking at a public meeting of the Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore neighbourhood police team, he said: "We haven't even finished replacing the park benches and there has been vandalism already, and play equipment vandalised which has only just been repaired."

Speaking to the Oxford Mail today, the council's clerk Richard Wilkins clarified the issues had been ongoing at the recreation grounds at Oxford Road and Orchard Way.

He said there was also evidence of drug use there.

The clerk said one picnic bench had been set on fire, suspected to be arson as a bag of aerosols was discovered on top of the table.

Children's play equipment including a train and a seesaw was vandalised with paint and inappropriate graffiti, Mr Wilkins said.

He said repairs could cost the council, which manages the parks, at least £2,000.

Parish councillors are considering whether they might have to put up a fence and bring in nighttime closures of the parks, or remove the play equipment, if the vandalism continues.

Mr Wilkins added: "It does have an effect on the local community.

"We are trying our best to repair but we have only got a certain pot of money, and that has to be spent across the whole parish."

At the meeting this month, which took place at Rose Hill Community Centre, concerns were noted about graffiti and antisocial behaviour.

Sergeant Kate Parker-Towle, who chaired the meeting, said: "Criminal damage and graffiti has, rather sadly, reared its ugly head.

"A lot of antisocial behaviour outside the [Rose Hill] community centre has improved significantly."

referring to an Oxford City Council report, she added: "I'm happy to report we have very little in terms of drugs paraphernalia and rough sleepers."

arking and speeding were also cited at the meeting as key issues.

One attendee said she knew of residents 'too scared to park outside their own homes' in Sandy Lane West, Littlemore, due to drivers taking the corner too quickly.

Mr Wicker agreed and said one car had crashed through a wall there several months ago.

Police community support officer Aaron Gisborne said antisocial motorbike riding had also been reported in the estates this month, and police had chased a rider.

Speaking at the meeting, he added: "Young teenagers have been riding around on Motocross bikes.

"We are making headway. A person has been identified and visited to lay down sections of the law."

Officers encouraged residents to contact them with information about crime in the area.