FARMERS, POLICE SAY ‘ WE STAMP OUT HOOLIGANISM ‘ – Park seats bolted down
Hertfordshire Mercury, 13th July1951
Farmers are co-operating with the Police to stamp out what is described as ” A wave of malicious damage by hooligans ” on public land and farms at Stanstead Abbotts .
Gates and stiles , say local residents , have been chopped to pieces and used for firewood , fields of crops have been used as crickets pitches , and bales of hay ripped apart .
On the village playing fields the swings and see-saws have been deliberately smashed so many times that the Parish Council refuse to undertake any more repairs , and park benches have been bolted down to prevent their being broken apart and taken away . Football posts has disappeared from the field and the shelter and refuse baskets have been destroyed .
One farmer, Mr Thomas Findlay , of Little Briggens Farm , Stanstead Abbotts , who is a member of the Parish Council, told the Mercury : ” I have never known a place like it . This hooliganism seems to be infectious . Children and youths seem to go around burning anything they can lay their hands on and which they can carry away . “
” Stiles and gates have been ripped apart . On my farm we have been bailing hay in a field near council housed and children have deliberately ripped bales apart with penknives . It is infuriating .”
” I have had a great deal of help from the Police in trying to stamp out this hooliganism .”
At this month’s meeting of Stanstead Abbotts Parish Council, it was decided that no more money was to be spent on repairs to swings at the playing field because of continuing misuse .
Mr Findlay commented : ” Damage on the playing field has been going on ever since it was provided more than 10 years ago . “
” A fine pavilion was provided but was damaged so much that it had to be removed as it became a danger . Park seats have to be bolted down to prevent their being broken up . The whole trouble is lack of parental control . The parents don’t seem to care at all . “
Mr A.F. Neave , chairman of the Council told the Mercury : “We have had to repair the swings twice every summer until we cannot spend anymore money on them. The only solution would be to appoint a park keeper to supervise the area , but the size of the field does not warrant the expense .”
A new telephone kiosk on the St Margaret’s council house estate has had to be repaired seven times in the past four months as a result of malicious damage to panes of glass .