Crime and “unacceptable abuse” on the rise in popular park in Gateshead village
Written by Nathan Cliff on 8th February 2022
Volunteers at a much-loved Gateshead park have faced “unacceptable abuse” amid a tidal wave of anti-social behaviour and petty crime.
There are fears that certain services at Chase Park, in Whickham, could be lost because of the issues, mostly blamed on youths.
And the warnings come as Whickham emerges as the only area in the North East to have seen a rise in crime since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as issues inside Chase Park, there have been local reports in Whickham of cars being targeted by brick-throwing youths, and crime statistics show a significant problem with vehicle break-ins.
The developments in Whickham belie its largely peaceful image and have sparked concerns from local community leaders.
Liberal Democrat councillor Christopher Ord said Chase Park has become a hotspot for crime in the village.
Councillor Ord, who represents Whickham North on Gateshead Council, said: ”Volunteers at the park have received unacceptable abuse and there has been little response from the police.
“The Halloween event in the park was affected by props from the event being taken and destroyed.”
Allan Scott, who chairs the volunteers for Chase Park, said they will be forced to consider giving up their efforts if the abuse toward them continues.
Mr Scott said: “If we get to an untenable situation, we will simply lose volunteers and services that the park provides will be stopped.
“They take the time out of their day to run the park and there is a real danger they could leave.”
He told of how the “gang” of youths had stolen alcohol from the local Tesco and gone to the park to drink it.
Mr Scott believed a “multi-agency” plan was needed to solve the deep-rooted problems in the village and particularly the park. He said: “At least two approaches are needed. Police need to be involved and local councillors need to do their bit.”
Scott also believes that the local community can and should be doing more to help their kids.
“The local youths are bored but instead of channelling that into anti-social behaviour the community needs to help them do something positive.”