Drug dealers turn BMX track into no-go zoneBy Victoria Corbett
May 13, 2011
A BMX park funded with more than £50,000 of funds for improving the community has become a “no-go area” for families with young children.
Police are stepping up patrols around the facility behind Morrisons in Woosehill after reports of underage drinking, anti-social behaviour and drug dealing.
PC Tin Wong, neighbourhood specialist officer for Emmbrook and Woosehill, said: “The BMX park behind Morrisons is causing police problems with kids drinking alcohol, anti-social behaviour and information has been received that drug dealing is going on.
“The police and Wokingham Borough Council have fought so hard to get the facilities so that children and adults alike can enjoy it.
“It has now become a no-go area for families with young children who feel intimidated and scared to use it.
More police patrols are being organised between police officers, street wardens and PCSOs to combat the
Litter and smashed bottles are being found at the BMX track and nearby playground, which PC Wong says further
puts off families from using the facilities.
He said: “Families go down there and think we have got underage drinking going on here and so they are keeping away.
“It should be a family place as there is play equipment there and the BMX track, it is for families at the end of the day.”
Councillor Philip Mirfin, leader of Wokingham Town Council and councillor for Emmbrook, said he was deeply disappointed to hear of the reports.
He said: “The whole reason for putting that there was not only that the teenagers wanted it there but that they would look after it.
“It is quite a big investment by the town council and Play for England.”
The facility opened in October last year and is not the only new play facility to have suffered from yob behaviour in recent weeks.
A new playground was unveiled at the King George V playing fields, off Goodchild Road, on April 27 by town mayor Councillor UllaKarin Clark.
However, last week vandals struck at the taxpayer-funded playground, ripping handles from a new see saw.
Wokingham Town Council will have to foot the bill for repairs.
Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham Town Council worked together to provide the BMX facility following a campaign from local young people for better facilities for youths.
Funds came from the town council and the Play for England fund, which put forward around £45,000 for the project.
Youngsters even picked the location, saying it would be more easily accessible for local teens.
The see saw at King George V playing fields has been sealed off to the public while the town council waits for engineers to fix it.
Paul Smith, amenities officer, said: “It is doubly annoying because the equipment has just been put in.”