Police called in over park yobs
FAMILIES have appealed to the police to investigate acts of vandalism and drug taking at a park.
Residents say they are becoming increasingly concerned about Lodge Road Park in Penkhull and claim discarded syringes and broken bottles are being discovered on a daily basis.
More than £80,000 of improvements have been made at the park over the last two years in a bid to give teenagers somewhere to socialise.
A zip wire and multi-use sports pitch were built while swings, a roundabout and a climbing frame were installed.
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But residents claim the park, upgraded with funding from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, is being abused by yobs.
Their concerns have been raised with the police by councillor Randy Conteh.
Mr Conteh, independent councillor for Penkhull and Stoke, said: "I spent a long time over about eight years working to get improvements made to Lodge Road Park.
"It really was a success and you've got facilities there for all age groups. It cost a lot of public money and it is something the residents are very proud of.
"So it is disgusting when you see the park being abused and used as a venue for nuisance drinking and drug taking. All we're asking for is a bit of respect."
Concerns have also been raised about teenagers riding off-road motorcycles in the park.
Barbara Andrew, chairman of Hartshill and Harpfields Residents' Association, said the problems have been "distressing".
She added: "Residents have contacted me to say they have been very distressed to discover drug paraphernalia in the park. This was reported to the police and I know they looked into it.
"There has also been a large amount of drinking in the park. It's not very nice when you have people who take their dogs for walks or their children to play there."
Mrs Andrew said she has raised the matter with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, who said council groundsmen will pay extra attention to the park during clean-ups.
Residents have also been joining voluntary litter-picks.
Mrs Andrew added: "There are a lot of very good people out there who give a lot of their time towards improving their community, and they should be praised."
Police said they will maintain patrols in the area and urged residents to report crimes.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "We are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in all its forms.
"Local officers and Police Community Support Officers carry out regular patrols in the area and engage with the individuals involved, taking positive action where appropriate."