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Council set to employ private security firm to patrol West Norfolk village in bid to stop vandalism

A parish council in West Norfolk is considering employing a private security firm to patrol the village after several weeks of vandalism.

In the past couple of months in Clenchwarton, just some of the examples of damage have included windows and doors at the bowls club being smashed, wooden planters in the memorial gardens being broken and motorbikes wrecking the playing field.

Now, the parish council is considering bringing in extra help to patrol the village in the evenings in a bid to stop the vandalism – which is causing thousands of pounds’ worth of damage.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497064)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497064)

Clerk Jenny Rowe said: “It’s a shame that we have to resort to something like this, but I can’t get up every morning and sort out vandalism and plan for things to be repaired.”

Mrs Rowe said it is believed that a group of about five youths are behind it.

“It’s the mentality – I don’t understand it,” she added.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497075)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497075)

She said they tend to ride about the village dressed in dark clothing, and have been known to ride towards traffic on their bikes.

“If anyone knows anything, we would like some information. If the culprits are found, the parish council will prosecute.”

Mrs Rowe said the culprits are, in effect, costing their families money by leaving the parish council with a bill.

“All the repairs and actions taken by the council to repair those things and to try and stop it, are costing the rate payers – it’s costing their families, their money for things,” she said.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497071)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497071)

“It seems to be every night after dark they are vandalising the village,” Mrs Rowe added.

“We will soon be able to tot the costs up but it will be in the thousands, and if we have to employ a security firm, that will be on top.”

It is believed that the vandals may be venturing into nearby villages and damaging property there too.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497073)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497073)

“It seems like Terrington is having problems as well, so perhaps they are going to other villages as well,” she said.

The private security firm is likely to start patrolling Clenchwarton soon.

“It’s pretty imminent, we are getting quotes from firms that might be able to help us,” Mrs Rowe said.

Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497062)
Vandalism in Clenchwarton. (22497062)

“We would need them to be spending time in the village at night.”

The parish clerk said they have been informing police of the incidents, but she understands that they have a lot to do with the resources they have.

“Obviously any cuts to policing is going to affect the parish,” she said.

“I appreciate the police are overstretched, they do what they can. All our services are stretched.

“Obviously we shouldn’t have to do this, but we spend money on the village trying to make it look nice and put the facilities there, and then you get a group hellbent on damaging everything.”

Police have confirmed that the incidents of vandalism in Clenchwarton have been reported to them in the past couple of months.

Officers said a number of incidents had been reported to them between September and October – with patrols of the Clenchwarton area being increased since then.

A police spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns of anti-social behaviour in the Clenchwarton area and five incidents were reported to us between Sunday 22 September 2019 and Friday 25 October 2019.

“Following these concerns, officers have increased patrols in the area and have not received any further complaints.”

The spokesperson also spoke of the need for education to help prevent anti-social behaviour, such as vandalism, happening in the first place.

They added: “Whilst we continue to regularly patrol the area, it is important local communities also work with police to prevent anti-social behaviour by educating young people about the consequences of it and to report incidents when they happen on 101 so that positive action can be taken.”

Instances of crime, such as criminal damage, can also be reported via the Norfolk Constabulary website, by going to norfolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-it.

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