05:00PM, Thursday 03 May 2018
Concerns have been raised about frequent drug use taking place out in the open in Grenfell Park.
A Grenfell area resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said he has regularly been ‘confronted with scenes of drug dealing and consumption' in the park and showed the Advertiser pictures of drug paraphernalia left littering the open space.
He said: “I see commuters coming through the park in the small hours of the morning. There’s no telling what could happen to you from someone who is opportunistic, desperate or both.”
He added an elderly neighbour who uses the park as a short cut to the town centre was confronted by a man with a syringe hanging out of his arm who told her ‘it’s insulin’.
The man believes there is no deterrent to stop drug users frequenting the area, and added: “I’ve never seen a police officer on a beat. We need a presence of police officers in the park.”
Mike Holness, who has been chairman of the Grenfell Park Users Group for the past seven years, described the presence of drugs in public places as ‘an issue in our community’.
He added: “It’s one of the reasons we keep the lights on in the park overnight, but the vandalism of the lights is ongoing.”
Mr Holness believes the lights are targeted by those who want to shroud the park in darkness and make its CCTV coverage effectively useless to enable criminal activity to go undetected.
The group is awaiting the delivery of more robust lighting in the hope they will not be so easily damaged and provide better protection for park users.
Mr Holness added: “The saddest thing is that the young people are finding solace in something that is so anti-social and damaging to them – lost and wasted lives as well as being something we don’t like to see.”
A council spokesman said it is committed to offering ‘a range of preventative services’ to address the root cause of some of the problems, such as its drug and alcohol service Resilience.
He added the council has stepped up community warden patrols and is continuing to work with Thames Valley Police on this problem.
Mr Holness added: “I feel the key thing is there are regular but random patrols by police and wardens in the park.
“The vigilance of the general public is also key. They should always call it in on 101.”
To contact Mr Holness about the park email firstname.lastname@example.org
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