Police arrest 10 teenagers over Audley allotments arson attacks
POLICE have arrested 10 teenagers in connection with arson attacks on a village allotments – and a further 29 will be visited by officers.
The arrests come after persistent anti-social behaviour in the area during the February half-term holidays saw sheds broken into and equipment set alight. Greenhouses were also smashed and trees uprooted.
And officers have revealed they are closing in on more young vandals who they believe wreaked havoc at the plots in Audley.
Newcastle Borough Council has revealed it has compiled a list of 29 youngsters involved in causing problems in the area. The authority has sent letters to their homes with police officers also visiting the addresses. Those responsible for ransacking the allotments could be forced to return to the site off Nantwich Road and fix the damage they have caused as part of the police's restorative justice programme.
Inspector Mark Barlow, of Newcastle police said: "Anti-social behaviour has been increasing in the area for a couple of months but it came to a head during the school break when we had a sustained few nights of kids going to the allotments and causing damage.
"During those incidents it had moved from anti-social behaviour such as hanging around the streets to arson and criminal damage."
Bert Proctor, chairman of Audley Parish Council, said: "We have had anti-social behaviour sporadically on and off but those 10 nights caused a lot of issues. Along with arson there have been thefts. They took CCTV cameras from the community centre along with signs for disabled parking at the facility.
"It is good news that the police have made the arrests and that will only act as a deterrent."
Everyone on the council's list of suspects will be required to sign an 'acceptable behaviour contract' with their parents or guardians.
If that is breached they could be hit with an anti-social behaviour order.
Councillor Tony Kearon, cabinet member for safer communities, said, "Newcastle-Borough Council has been working closely with residents, community groups and agencies in the Audley area to come up with effective and lasting solutions to the anti-social behaviour that has occurred there recently."
Such is the extent of the issues involving troublesome youngsters, police have now dedicated two officers to the Audley area along with stepping up patrols around the known hot-spots.
Inspector Barlow says a number of youngsters are being dropped off in the area by their parents.
He said: "The message that we have for those who have yet to come forward is that we will be knocking on their door very soon."