POLICE and Tewkesbury Borough Council have joined forces to stamp out a wave of vandalism blamed on young people in the town.

The most serious act took place on Sunday, July 10, when a fire was started in a shed behind the old Cascades leisure centre in Oldbury Road.

The fire was the culmination of a number of break-ins at the site, where windows were smashed and fencing was broken.

The previous Sunday, around 20 young people aged from 11 to 17 were caught on CCTV inside the derelict building and climbing on the roof, so when the fire broke out, the emergency services' main concern was ensuring there was nobody inside.

Elsewhere in Tewkesbury, on Friday, July 8, play equipment at the Vineyards was damaged and the rugby posts on the neighbouring fields were snapped.

There was also a break-in at Tewkesbury’s cemetery chapel where the historic gates were broken.

Cllr Dave Waters of Tewkesbury Council said: “Police and council officers have responded to multiple alarm calls and have been keeping up with the repairs necessary to keep the public property safe, but there is huge concern for the safety and wellbeing of these young people as well as the spiralling cost of the damage caused.

“It’s bad enough that crimes happen at all, but when they affect public property, residents are forced to pick up the cost through their council tax. We’re very grateful to the police and other partners who are working with us to find a resolution as soon as possible.”

Inspector David Goga said: “We are working very closely with the council and other partners, and the Cascades incidents are a priority.

“We have identified several of the individuals involved and have already interviewed two young people. We will be catching up with others and speaking to them very soon.

“It is a small group of individuals that we are targeting and using the combined resources of Tewkesbury Borough Council, schools, youth teams and social services, we are endeavouring to break the cycle of offending.

“We will continue to work with the council and other partners to advise on vacant building security, especially in the run up to the summer holidays.

“This type of activity is dangerous to those committing the offences and is clearly having a considerable impact on the local community. “I urge public assistance, and ask that if anyone who has information about these incidents to come forward on 101 and report any suspicious activity as soon as possible.”