Call for action to end crime wave

Councillors are demanding action over the “systematic anti-social behaviour” that is plaguing the lives of residents in Bardsey.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 9:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 9:42 am
Date:18th February 2019. Picture James Hardisty. Councillor Ryan Stephenson near scene of fire at the junction of Keswick Lane and The Drive in Bardsey, Leeds, where a gas mains caught alight on Saturday evening destroying a hedge to a nearby property.

Incidents in the village 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 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 end the growing issue.

It comes in the wake of four youth beings arrested in connection with a gas main fire last Saturday.

Coun 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.”

Councillors for Harewood ward visited the village in the wake of the fire and the message was clear.

In a joint statement, councillors Ryan Stephenson, Matthew Robinson and Sam Firth yesterday said: “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 clamp down so, we are now in discussions with the council’s leadership in order to progress this further.”

Coun Stephenson said that residents understood the challenges facing police but things had reached a point where community cohesion could be damaged.

He added: “Everybody in the area knows who’s causing it.”

Moving to reassure worried residents, Sergeant Iain McKelvey, of North East Leeds Neighbourhood Policing Team, said those concerns were being taken seriously by the force.

“There is significant work ongoing to combat anti-social behaviour and crime including regular patrols to prevent and disrupt it, ” he said.

“We also have a problem solving operation in place for the area, to help co-ordinate work by ourselves and partners to address the issues.”

A spokesman for Leeds City Council added: “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.”

“Leeds City Council should be at the heart of this clamp down.”

MP for Elmet and Rothwell, Alec Shelbrooke told the Wetherby News: “The events of Saturday evening must have been disturbing for residents and I’m grateful that local councillors have been quick to call for some firmer action on anti-social behaviour.

“I have discussed this matter with police chiefs and will be giving our councillors any additional support they need, at whatever level, to nip this in the bud.”