'Anti-social behaviour is the worst it has ever been for decades' says angry Harborough district councillor
“This situation is getting out of hand here in the Kibworths – we are having serious trouble almost every day of the week," he said
Anti-social behaviour hitting a Harborough district village is at its worst for over 45 years, an angry local councillor has declared.
Cllr Kevin Feltham is warning that youths are making hell life for residents in fast-growing Kibworth Beauchamp and Kibworth Harcourt.
And he is now calling on police to work much more closely with local councillors and community leaders in a bid to crack down on the “daily nightmare” people are being forced to endure.
“This situation is getting out of hand here in the Kibworths – we are having serious trouble almost every day of the week.
“I moved here back in 1976.
“And the rank bad behaviour we’re getting here now is certainly the worst in the 45 years we’ve been here,” Cllr Feltham told the Harborough Mail.
“It’s totally unacceptable.
“These kids are making life hell for residents.
“Now it’s time that the police work alongside us much more effectively so that we can start to get a grip and get on top of this problem.”
The veteran Conservative county councillor spoke out days after a group of teenagers were caught red-handed smoking drugs in Kibworth Beauchamp.
They were dealt with by police after being spotted with drugs near School Road.
“This sort of incident is happening time and time again.
“We have too many kids, far too many teenagers, drinking too much and taking drugs in Kibworth,” said Cllr Feltham, who also sits on both Kibworth parish councils.
“They stay out late, make a load of noise and leave a load of rubbish – including broken bottles and smashed glass – behind them.
“That’s very dangerous as well as being so mindless and idiotic.
“This sort of waste poses a massive threat to young children when it’s being scattered around at our parks’ playgrounds.
“And poor dogs have also had their paws cut and injured as they’re walked through our open spaces.
“We have over 100 bins in our village – so there’s no excuse what so ever for just throwing rubbish around.
“The kids get their hands on plenty of booze somehow and that’s right at the heart of this relentless wave of trouble.”
Cllr Feltham said Warwick Road Recreation Ground and Smeeton Road park have become notorious anti-social behaviour hotspots.
“Gangs gather there night in night out.
“Furious residents call the police.
“But as soon as they turn up the kids scarper,” he said.
“They’ve even smashed their way through a metal fence.
“Officers have got to get out of their cars and chase these louts on foot – as well as sealing off all the exits.
“The youngsters also spill out on to our High Street as well as running off to Smeeton Road park.
“We see them swaggering around swilling bottles of vodka.
“They just have no respect for people here, no respect for our community.
“And they hold the police and authority in general in contempt.
“We have a hardcore group of maybe 15-20 boys and girls at the heart of this nightmare,” said Cllr Feltham.
“They are aged about 15 or 16 – and some of them might come here from Fleckney too.
“Our grounds lady spends two or three hours a day clearing up our parks, playgrounds and outdoor spaces.
“It’s a totally soul-destroying, thankless task and why should she be forced to do that for goodness sake?
“We are appealing to local shops not to sell under-age kids beer, lager and spirits.
“And, of course, parents and families have a crucial role to play here too.
“You aren’t telling me that parents don’t know that their sons and daughters aren’t rolling in drunk or stinking of drugs late at night?
“The answer is simple – stop them doing it.
“This situation needs an across-the-board solution across our entire community,” insisted Cllr Feltham.
“Parents, the police, our schools, community leaders, councillors – we all have to unite to combat this social crisis.
“We used to have a police sergeant based here in Kibworth – and he used to stamp down on this sort of nonsense.
“Those days are sadly long gone.
“So we have to find new ways of tackling anti-social behaviour and making the Kibworths a nice peaceful place to live in once again.”
Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough District Council and lives in Kibworth Beauchamp, told the Mail: “Vandalism, trouble on the streets and in our parks as well as the destruction of property will not be tolerated.
“We urgently need greater liaison and co-operation between our community and the police.
“Taxpayers in Harborough will contribute over £9 million to funding our police force over the next year.
“That’s an awful lot of money.
“So the police have to do their bit to help keep us all safe and look after our towns and villages,” said Cllr King, who represents the Kibworths ward on Harborough council.
“Parents are also vital – they’ve got to be responsible as well for their children’s actions.
“They are their children after all, no one else’s.”
Asked for their response to the two senior Kibworth councillors’ high-octane claims, Sgt Ryan Coleman, of Harborough police, told the Mail: “Prior to the easing of the Covid restrictions officers began an operation in the local area to tackle concerns regarding anti-social behaviour in the local parks and recreation grounds.
“Extra patrols are continuing since an increase in the number of people socialising in these areas has been noticed and officers have dispersed groups later in the evening who were being anti-social.”
He added: “Letters have been handed out to local licensing premises and secondary schools in an effort to prevent further incidents.
“We continue to work closely with partners to address issues of anti-social behaviour and ensure local residents feels safe.”