Vandals strike 100 times

Vandals have damaged over 100 council and Helena Homes properties
Vandals have damaged over 100 council and Helena Homes properties

Vandals have struck St Helens Council and Helena Housing property almost 100 times this year.

Figures released under Freedom of Information rules reveals that yobs have destroyed building, parks and items belonging to the council a total of 75 times in 2014, and there have been 16 counts of vandalism to Helena Housing stock,

The most hit council building is The Grove children’s home, which had nine incidents, as well as Mesnes Park, which has also been trashed nine times.

Sankey Park is also another popular spot for trouble with six incidents,

King George V playing field and building in Haydock has also seen a battering, with four incidents, plus a further one at its Grange Park site.

Derbyshire Hill Youth Centre, was also heavily targeted in 2013, with six counts of vandalism. Yobs also revisited the site four times this year.

Over the last three years the number of occasions has remained consistent, with 101 last year and 103 in 2012.

But it has dropped significantly from 2011, with a total of 149 incidents - with 21 in Mesnes Park and 12 at Sankey Valley Park.

St Helens Council was unable to release information about how much the damage has cost over the years, but the bill is expected to be in the thousands.

A council spokesman said: “We deplore any act of vandalism. But when it takes place on or against council property it’s usually our communities that suffer – with buildings or facilities taken out of use while they await repair. Damaged equipment is also a safety risk and of course the bill for repairs is ultimately picked up by council tax payers.

“The council works hard to protect its property and tackle vandals – with CCTV cameras installed at many locations across the borough and our security teams making regular patrols at key locations including the borough’s primary and secondary schools.

“We’d urge anyone who witnesses acts of vandalism to contact the police non-emergency number on 101 as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, Helena Housing has spent more than £34,000 on repairing deliberate damage to its properties over the last four years,

The bill has almost halved over the last two years, with 89 jobs costing £13,338 in 2012 and 61 reports, worth £7,783.

So far this year there have been 16 reports of vandalism, at a cost of £1.194.

A spokesman for Helena Housing said: “Interestingly, the figure this year-to-date is very low but follows a downward trend.

“We are responsible for 13,000 homes in St Helens and took over responsibility for council housing in 2002. We are not just here to build and manage homes, we want to regenerate communities, create opportunities, improve peoples’ lives and help everyone live independently for longer.”