May 9, 2016 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette April 21st 2016
SIX o’clock on a late spring evening a small mixed group of young people wander across the Sea Road pitch and putt golf course, casually remove some of the red flags and move on. Shortly afterwards they cut through the bushes that border the green, cross the miniature railway tracks and they are in our delightful Mewsbrook Park, their original destination. They move on to the Park Café and there, in a matter of a few minutes, they have used the stolen flagpoles to wreck the awning roof and cause over £300 pounds worth of damage. They do not immediately flee the scene but hang around before casually moving on to the Devil only knows where. They have had a fun start to their young evening’s entertainment and later others may count the cost of their joyous outing. Some may call it ‘mindless vandalism’ but it is far from mindless, they set out to wreck, to cause havoc, they stole the flags knowing where they would be used and how to use them. It was calculated and far from thoughtless. They know just how much it will irritate those who do not share in their destructive pleasure, that someone else will put it right and they could care less about the work others have put into providing the facility for the pleasure of the community. They have been seen, they are regular and the police are called at six thirty but have not arrived by seven thirty by which time the youngsters have finally moved on. Regular police patrols on vulnerable spots like the park are needed and, should they be caught, these troubled boys and girls should be given long tough-love sentences working, repairing the damage they cause, spending some of their future evenings labouring in the community, making it a better place for all of us and also, just as importantly, for them.