Local residents living in homes in Penarth Marina are demanding action be taken to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the residential developments surrounding Plymouth Park, the Marina yacht-basins and overlooking Cardiff Bay .
The protest has been sparked by a spate of burglaries – believed have been committed by criminals from outside the area which specifically targeted cars and some of the most desirable waterside homes in the Marina development.
Several cars in the Marina have been broken into in the last few days. In once case the thieves were filmed on a CCTV camera:-
In the case seen above, a car belonging to Mr Terry Chisnall is broken into in the very early hours of the morning and ransacked by a gang of thieves – some of whom appear to be wearing long robes. The theft occurred on Friday night May 18th/ May 19th.
Residents are also very concerned about rising antisocial behaviour across the Marina residential area by drugtakers and teenagers apparently sniffing “laughing gas “.
Cllr Gary Allman (Conservative St Augustines) last night held discussions with a number of concerned local residents and with Mr John Constable who also lives locally and is chairman of Penarth Portway Management Ltd – the company that looks after 180 properties at the South Eastern end of in the Marina residential area .
Cllr Allman said that residents were constantly finding scores of small nitrous oxide cylinders or chargers littering the shoreline overlooking Cardiff Bay, within yards of the homes of local residents. Discarded balloons, hypodermic needles and other drug-taking paraphernalia were also being found.
Cllr Allman said the gas sniffing problem extended throughout the Marina . Discarded gas canisters were also being found in the vicinity of the Oystercatcher pub and elsewhere.
Mr Constable that on Thursday morning last week he had found large numbers of laughing gas chargers littering the area . These, he says, are being sold in many local clubs and pubs. The contents are discharged into balloons and then “snorted” – giving the drug users a “high”.
The gas is illegal under the Psychotic Substances Act of 2016 but the police – Mr Constable says – are “taking a fairly relaxed view” pending the outcome of an appeal in case in which a user claimed the gas was being sniffed for “medicinal purposes” .
Mr Constable stresses that a spate of crime is also a prime concern of local residents. On Wednesday evening last week (May 16th) residents saw two men park a black BMW car near Plas Taliesin and then fly a radio-controlled drone – not over Cardiff Bay – but at the first floor level of local houses – from which height they could easily peer inside into upstairs rooms.
The following Sunday (May 27th) one of the houses which had been videoed by the drone was broken into . A knapsack was stolen in which there were the ignition keys of a black Ford Mondeo. That car was driven away and has yet to be traced . Two other cars in the Marina area were also broken into over the weekend – one of which is the vehicle in the video at the top of this item.
Residents say the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s decision [taken by the former Labour administration] to switch off street lights in the Marina between midnight and 06:00 is also thought to be a factor in the increase in criminal activity in the area .
Cllr Allman says it’s recognised that eventually the Marina district’s street lamps will be converted to more economical LED lights – but in the meantime the lack of light at night poses an additional risk for residents. He says that if enough local people got together – in the whole of the Marina – to demand the reinstatement of overnight lighting he would be able to do something about it.
On the increasing anti-social behaviour problem Mr Constable said local people were now taking a “community initiative” with residents “keeping an eye out for each other” and in many cases had their own CCTV cameras and were noting faces and car numbers.
However, Mr Constable said, the local community was “looking for more in the way of assistance from the police” . It was not good enough, he said, to be asked to dial 101 and have a police community service officer turn up 2 days later ; residents wanted to be able to “dial 999 and have flashing blue lights on the scene” immediately.
As all cars entering and exiting the Marina can only use two roads in or out, one idea suggested by residents is to have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras constantly monitoring these two routes.
Cllr Allman is also encouraging the revival of the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme which became defunct many years ago .
He wants to the Penarth Marina Residents Association to bring the whole community together to “put a plan together” and take the initiative to combat the problems.
Meanwhile other residents are pressing local Labour AM Vaughan Gething and Labour MP Stephen Doughty to take action on their behalf – specifically in regard to the Cardiff Barrage Car Park which has now become a Mecca for drug taking and anti social activity.
The Cardiff Barrage car park is owned by the Labour-run Cardiff Council .
Disacarded gas canisters have also been found at other parts of the marina , on nearby roads and on the Barrage – along with needles and other drug-taking paraphenalia. Police have been informed but – residents say they only advise people to ring 101 – a number which can take ages to get through on. Police officers rarely patrol the marina area itself