Action is being demanded over the “systematic anti-social behaviour” that is plaguing the lives of residents in a Leeds village.
Incidents in Bardsey over the past six months have included ketchup bottles being hurled at people’s homes, fences being smashed down, attempts to kick through people’s front doors and hedges being set alight.
Harewood ward councillors Ryan Stephenson, Matthew Robinson and Sam Firth have now called for an urgent response from the council, police and other agencies to bring an end to the escalating problem.
It comes in the wake of four youth beings arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a gas main fire on Saturday evening.
Coun Ryan Stephenson said: “With the background of all that has been going on, what happened on Saturday evening – without making connections – means the villagers are really concerned about where it’s heading.”
He said residents understood the challenges facing police but things had reached a point where community cohesion could be damaged, adding: “Everybody in the area knows who’s causing it.”
Along with fellow councillors Matthew Robinson and Sam Firth, he had visited Barsdey on Sunday to offer support following the disruption of road closures and homes being evacuated while emergency services responded to the fire.
And the message from residents could not have been clearer as they detailed the catalogue of vandalism, criminal damage and arson that has taken place.
In a joint statement, the three councillors said: “Four people have been arrested and it is right that we let the police conduct their investigations without interference, but it is clear that a multi-agency approach is urgently needed to deal with the systematic anti-social behaviour that has plagued the village of late.
"Leeds City Council should be at the heart of this clampdown so we are now in discussions with the council's leadership in order to progress this further".
Moving to reassure worried residents, Sergeant Iain McKelvey, of North East Leeds Neighbourhood Policing Team, said they were aware of the concerns raised.
"We are taking these concerns seriously and tackling anti-social behaviour by working with our partners and the community as it is one of our highest priorities," he said.
“There is significant work ongoing to combat anti-social behaviour including regular patrols to prevent and disrupt crime and anti-social behaviour.
“We also have a problem solving operation in place for the area, to help coordinate work by ourselves and partners to address the issues."
He said police would continue to work alongside the council and the Leeds Anti-social Behaviour Team (LASBT) to look at enforcement options.
“I would encourage anyone affected to contact police if they witness or are a victim of anti-social behaviour,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Leeds City Council spokesman said LASBT uses a variety of tools at its disposal to stop incidents of anti-social behaviour in communities.
He said: “We will be contacting local representatives to discuss what proactive steps can be taken through a multi-agency approach to tackle the specific concerns that have been raised in Bardsey.”