CAMPAIGNERS have called on the police to keep up the pressure on criminals who have been wreaking havoc in a village in a wave of anti-social behaviour.

Over the past few months residents and the parish council in North Weald have had to pay thousands in repair costs after vandals scrawled graffiti over walls, train carriages and even the village hall in the High Road.

Teenagers have also been using the village green as a quad bikes race track, churning up the grass and leaving huge welts in the earth.

In a recent clampdown Essex Police arrested a 19-year-old man from North Weald for causing criminal damage in Pike Way, and have referred another man for investigation for driving a motorbike without a license and reprimanded a third for driving a bike with bald tyres.

A 39-year-from Waltham Cross was arrested for drink driving and a 27-year-old from Ongar was arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and for driving without a license or insurance as part of the operation.

Residents have demanded that police keep up the pressure by maintaining regular patrols in crime hotspots and opening up channels of communication to inform residents of progress made.

Alan Buckley, 68, of Harrison Drive in North Weald, attended a recent meeting of residents and police where a range of measures were suggested to tackle the graffiti problem, including the construction of a graffiti wall where teenagers could create street art.

He said: "“I have spoken to people who have seen more police about and it is good that arrests have been made.

“The police need to maintain this pressure on criminals and let the village know what they are doing.

“I think it would do a power of good if they put out an article in the parish news or held a meeting saying this is the action being taken and give residents a progress report.

“It would make people feel like their concerns are being taken seriously and reporting incidents is not a waste of time.”

Nick Dorras, 64, is the village hall committee chairman and a member of the North Weald Neighbourhood Action Panel.

He said: “Everyone thinks an increased police presence long-term would help. I think it is about targeting specific incidents and keeping up the pressure.

“There have been people killed in accidents on the High Road in recent years. At night time people come through the village at racing speed. It is important that police also keep an eye on this.”

Inspector Paul Maleary of Essex Police said: “We intend to maintain increased patrols in the area.

“We will continue to use all of the options in the police toolbox to deal with the problem, and have not rules out issuing ASBOs for those apprehended so far.

“We recently held a meeting with the public on the problems and will be issuing further information on the recent operation in the near future.

“There seems to be a reluctance on the part of some of the public in engaging with the police. We would encourage people with information on these incidents to engage with the police at the earliest possible opportunity.

“Parents have responsibility for their children, and for the actions of those who reside at their addresses. Parents taking responsibility is an important part of tackling the problem.”

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