In the wake of the £8,000 damage done by vandals on cricket equipment at Penarth Athletic Club – officials are demanding to know how the under-age youngsters were able to get their hands on cans of beer and bottles of booze .
Following the attack on the evening of Tuesday June 2nd ( see PDN http://tinyurl.com/hxhuvjh) the honorary trustee Gordon Shumack has revealed that the police have had to be called to the open grounds of Penarth Athletic Club “on more than one occasion”.
In an open letter written on behalf of the club Mr Shumack says:-
“The Athletic Club and its sporting sections work hard to provide the opportunity for young people to engage in sport at little personal expense. It is rather paradoxical that youths of the ages the club endeavour to attract to sport has destroyed equipment meant to assist youngsters in their sporting endeavour.”
Making a public statement on the situation, Mr Shumack says:-
“Residents and neighbours should be assured the youths responsible for the recent spate of annoyance are not members of the Athletic Club. Neither have the alcoholic drinks they have been consuming been sold to them by our bar staff.”
He goes on to say ” It is quite apparent from the cans and bottles left that the Athletic Club does not sell the particular alcoholic products such as fridge packs of lager and large bottles of cheap wine which have been discarded by those responsible for the disturbances and anti social behaviour. These youths are for the most part under age in terms of the purchase of alcoholic drinks, so the question must be raised who is providing cans and bottles? We are frequently told that Trading Standards undertake “test purchase” in effort to enforce legislation, how many offenders have been sanctioned in the past year?”
The parents of the vandals also come in for direct criticism from Mr Shumack and his colleagues. He asks:-
“What can parents and carers do in relation to such problems, well they can make a start by asking basic questions of their child, do they really know where their children are when not at home or in school? Please do not wait for the call that they are in hospital or the police custody suite following drunken incidents, a violent attack fuelled by alcohol, or ill through the use of illegal highs or drugs.”
Vale Youth Services do not escape censure from Penarth Athletic Club Officials. In the club’s open letter Mr Shumack says:-
“Clearly the Athletic Club wish to continue our good relations with our neighbours and would request that they call the police if they are disturbed by these gangs of rowdy youths then hopefully the situation will receive the attention required. Let’s hope that those involved in the youth service and the PULSE project will find some time to review what is happening in the Penarth area and endeavour to divert these youths from offending behaviour. Perhaps they can encourage anti social youths to the sports facilities available in Penarth. As a matter of interest – having been a member of the committee and former secretary – the club has never had any contact with anyone from the Vale Youth Services concerning referrals to help in such circumstances.“
The open letter goes on to say:-
“If the situation persists I would refer those affected to the Safer Vale Partnership and the ability for anyone to utilise the “Community Trigger” process, in brief this means that anyone who is affected by anti social behaviour where three or more incidents of anti social behaviour which are of a similar nature have been reported in the last six months and if you believe the action taken has been inadequate, you are eligible to set the trigger.”
“There is a very important requirement to this process which is that for the community trigger to be activated the anti-social behaviour MUST BE REPORTED. To report anti-social behaviour telephone OneVale on (01446) 700111 or South Wales Police on 101. The latter number is available 24/7.” Mr Shumack also draws attention to Crimestoppers where information can be given with anonymity guaranteed
In a warning to the culprits, Mr Shumack says:-
“The minority of those responsible for the anti-social behaviour should know that they are not going to win in trying to destroy years of sporting history associated with Penarth Athletic Club or continue to blight the lives of residents with their upsetting activities.”