Worried councillors are calling for an increased police presence in a picturesque Ribble Valley village after a spate of crime.
It is claimed gangs of young vandals have been leaving a trail of destruction in Whalley by throwing eggs at a retirement home, destroying a memorial bench and allegedly taking drugs in toilets,
Crisis talks are being held and a multi-agency meeting is being organised in order to combat the problem, which has seen more and more youths congregating in the centre of the village and intimidating locals.
Mandy Richardson, Whalley Parish Council clerk, said: “The gangs are often verbally abusive and use threatening behaviour towards residents when asked to move on. Drug taking is evident and this is taking place in Whalley Abbey, under the A59 bridge and at the toilets in Vale Gardens, King Street.
“The doors to the village toilets have been repeatedly damaged. So much so, officials at Ribble Valley Borough Council cannot afford to repair them anymore and are contemplating replacing them with steel shutters to keep vandals out. On occasions cleaners and electricians have been called out at the weekends to clear up the mess. Although all three CCTV cameras in the village are currently operational, it has proved impossible to identify the youths from the images captured.”
Coun. Terry Hill, of the Democratic Conservatives, said: “The only deterrent, in my opinion, is to have more police around, but I know they are extremely stretched because of the limited resources they have to work with.”
Police say they are aware of the problem and will be stepping up patrols in the village.
PCSO Caroline Pemberton, of Clitheroe Police, said: “There has been a small increase in anti-social behaviour in Whalley and officers have stepped up patrols.
“We are in talks with Whalley Parish Council how to deal with this problem, but in the meantime I would urge local villagers, who witness any criminal activity, to contact the police on 101.”