CCTV is now being installed at the Recreation Ground in Fordingbridge after an increase in vandalism and reports of antisocial behaviour.

Fordingbridge Town Council says there has been an increase in vandalism to its property. This has included five windows being smashed at the Pavilion on the afternoon of April 16.

The council said on Monday bins near the skate park were damaged and in the past newly planted trees had also been damaged. In addition to this it also says glass bottles have been smashed and put into the ground which could “potentially cause injury” and there have been reports of cruelty to wildlife at the park and river.

'We hope this will help to serve as a deterrent'

A statement on the council’s Facebook page said: “With the apparent rise in antisocial behaviour and criminal offences at our Recreation Ground we are now installing CCTV cameras.

"We hope this will help to serve as a deterrent to the small minority of individuals who perpetrate acts of this nature. We will share CCTV evidence with the police to aid a conviction, if this is appropriate.”

The council discussed CCTV after two break-ins at the end of January at the Pavilion.

'Mindless vandalism'

Mayor Edward Hale said: “I am shocked to see there has been more mindless vandalism at the Recreation Ground following previous damage to the Pavilion. Up until recently I would not have supported CCTV in Fordingbridge but now it seems our only option to try to stop more damage of this type.

“This means the town council is spending more of our residents’ council tax in repairing damage and in buying CCTV equipment to try to prevent future vandalism. Residents have asked for better facilities in the town such as benches and bins through our recent consultation, but it now seems the council must try to select equipment which cannot be damaged in this way.”

The cost of the CCTV was around £1,575 plus VAT.

Police patrols in hot-spot areas

Inspector Mike Minnock said: “We are aware of a number of reports of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage being caused in the local community in recent weeks – and our officers are seeking to investigate and identify those responsible.

"The local Neighbourhood Policing Team is always seeking to engage the community that they serve, in order to reduce crime across Fordingbridge and offer timely and informative crime prevention advice in response to reports of crime in the community.

"We want to work with you to reduce the chance of residents becoming victims, and bringing offenders to justice.

"There will be an increase in policing resources across the area and patrols in hot-spot areas to ensure that we are in the strongest position possible to deter such activity. It also presents an opportunity to deploy specialist resources to tackle any emerging issues within the community, while continuing to work alongside key partners such as New Forest District Council to resolve these issues and keep our local communities safe from harm.

"We have also had a number of positive outcomes following arrests of a number of offenders who we believe are involved in causing these issues within the community. It is hoped that this will act as a deterrent; we will investigate and we will seek to bring those responsible to justice."

Residents urged to report incidents

“Anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity or suspects illegal activity may be taking place in the local community, please contact us using our online reporting portal via the Hampshire Constabulary website or by calling 101," added Insp Minnock.

“Every call you make to us is logged and helps build a bigger picture about what might be happening in your community.

“This allows our officers to take action and prevent your neighbourhoods from harm.”

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