Upchurch has been subjected to an unprecedented amount of anti-social behaviour in recent months and this is becoming extremely costly to the Parish Council.
In May, a new picnic bench, which had cost £513, was burnt out in The Paddock, residents had worked hard to raise the money to enhance area.
New safety matting, which cost £1296.00, was installed in October under the swing in the Paddock and this was subsequently ripped up.
A spate of graffiti occurred on 31 October and benches in the Paddock and also the Recreation Ground fence were targeted and, most disappointingly, the new bus shelter which cost over £7,000 was also attacked with graffiti.
In addition to this rubbish bins have been burnt out in the Paddock and other graffiti has occurred in the village on several occasions. There have also been issues with littering in the Paddock and other areas and this again is costly to the village.
All incidents have been reported to the Police and the matters are being investigated.
Some of the criminal damage has been covered by the insurance although the Council has had to pay the excess, and future premiums will be affected; some of the criminal damage has not been covered by the insurance so the Parish Council has had to foot the bill. This will ultimately impact on the precept and Council Tax may have to rise so the burden of the cost of this anti-social behaviour will ultimately fall on residents.
Upchurch Parish Council asks that all residents be vigilant and to report any incidents to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. PCSO John Cork is working diligently to try to combat the surge in vandalism and the Parish Council is extremely grateful for his support.
Councillors are working hard to enhance the village for the benefit of residents and hope that everyone will help to keep Upchurch a great place to live in. Thank you for your co-operation.