Police install CCTV after ‘upsetting’ garden damage

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 4th May 2022 10:15 am
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Gerddi Bro Ddyfi and inset some of the damage (supplied )

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MACHYNLLETH community garden volunteers are working with police to install CCTV, due to months of damage and vandalism.

Gerddi Bro Ddyfi Gardens said they have been co-operating with police to install security camera after an “escalation of anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the gardens”.

Volunteer coordinator Angela Paxton said they are keen to work with young people to mitigate the damage, caused by big groups of youths.

She added the damage has been “going on for months” and includes damage to their shelter - breaking the roof, tables, floor, walls, and burning the wood - as well as the breaking and burning of a fence, benches, their bins and bin structure.

Fruit bushes and a tree have been trampled, pulled up and burned, tyres have bene brought to the garden and burned, vegetable beds have been broken, seedlings pulled up, and potted plants burned. There has been broken glass on the paths, the greenhouse broken, meaning they can’t grow seedlings anymore.

“Volunteers do the work in the gardens during our weekly drop in sessions and it has been very upsetting for all these people to see all the work they have done being broken and burned,” Angela said.

“There were quite big gatherings of young people in the gardens in the afternoons and evenings over the holiday, sometimes as many as 30, drinking, playing music loudly. Apparently teenagers have been coming from Aberystwyth, Tywyn and other places. My understanding is that many of the young people were under age, but it seems that they are getting alcohol from slightly older teenagers.

“Some of them were rude to visitors to the gardens. Quite a few visitors have said they were feeling uncomfortable and were not coming to the gardens as they were put off by the behaviour as well as the vandalism. There has been lots of litter left, mainly bottle and cans, which our kind visitors and volunteers have been clearing up.

“Although we have been thinking about cameras for a long while, it has been difficult to work out how to put up cameras because we don’t have electricity on site, and no high buildings or poles. The police put up cameras high up on trees on Thursday last week.

“I heard today (25 April) that at least one of the police cameras has been vandalised or stolen, but I haven’t seen this and can’t confirm it - I just heard it from a visitor.

“It’s a sad state of affairs that these gatherings have got out of control, as we would be happy for the young people to come to the gardens if they respected the space and other people. It’s a community garden, for all in the community, including young people, but also everyone else.

“We had some workshops with young people through Ysgol Bro Hyddgen Uwchradd last year, to try and engage teenagers, and last summer paid a local artist to do a mural with teenagers who use the gardens regularly. This year we will have some workshops again for teenagers through the high school, and would like to try other activities where teenagers can do practical actions such as helping to build benches.”

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