Residents at their wits’ end over anti-social behaviour in Higham Ferrers

One of the broken trees
One of the broken trees

Residents say they are at their wits’ end after two years of anti-social behaviour from youngsters gathering at a green near their homes.

The green just off School Lane in Higham Ferrers is used by people to walk their dogs, exercise or have picnics when the weather is nice.

Litter left behind at the green just off School Lane in Higham Ferrers

Litter left behind at the green just off School Lane in Higham Ferrers

But the green, which is owned by a private company, has also become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour with youngsters damaging trees, leaving rubbish and using foul language.

After two years of trouble, neighbours from School Lane have contacted the Northants Telegraph as a last resort about the ‘increasingly frustrating’ situation.

Their letter says: “For the past two years a group of schoolchildren (14 to 16) have been using the green to play football, during the good weather months nearly every day after school and also at weekends.

“First, there was a group of around six boys but these days there can be 15 or more plus some girls.

Damage caused to one of the trees on the green

Damage caused to one of the trees on the green

“The problem is not the football but their anti-social behaviour towards the land and surrounding homes.

“While they are playing they constantly use foul language which is very offensive, especially for families with young children, who can no longer be in their garden when the boys are playing to avoid their children being exposed to such language.

“Their football game is aimed at the road and many cars have been hit by a high powered ball.

“A child in their own garden was recently hit on the head by another high flying misjudged ball.

Residents say the problem with anti-social behaviour has been ongoing for two years

Residents say the problem with anti-social behaviour has been ongoing for two years

“In addition they leave behind piles of rubbish and leftover food every time they visit the green.

“They systematically pull branches from the trees, culminating two weeks ago in them deliberately snapping in half a young tree.

“This event was reported to the police.

“Different neighbours have approached them asking them to take their rubbish home, not to destroy the trees, to moderate their language etc but to no avail.”

The residents are urging the parents of these youngsters to step in and help stop it.

And they added: “We think – at least we hope - that these children’s families would be appalled if they knew about their behaviour in the green.

“We know they live somewhere in Higham, some are dropped off by a parent.

“We are at our wits’ end and at a loss on what to do about a problem that is affecting our quality of life.

“We hope that if some of the parents who know their children come to play football in this green read this letter, will at least question the behaviour of their children.”

In response to their concerns, neighbourhood policing sergeant Paul Mitchinson said: “We are aware of the anti-social behaviour which is happening in School Lane, Higham Ferrers, and have been working closely with residents in the area to tackle it.

“I would be very keen to see any videos that residents have taken of the issues as this would greatly assist our enquiries.

“Everyone has the right to enjoy living in their neighbourhoods and we are determined to eradicate the anti-social behaviour happening here.

“I would encourage residents to continue to report issues to us, specifically at NeighbourhoodTeamEastNorthants@northants.police.uk, so we can build a clear picture of what’s going on and who is involved in order to effectively tackle this problem.”