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Covidiots ‘must be stopped’ after New Year vandalism in Thurston

Community leaders have spoken of their despair after ‘Covidiots’ went on the rampage on New Year’s Eve.

The troublemakers broke sections of railings and the veranda at the pavilion in the latest of a series of incidents at the recreation ground on Church Road, Thurston.

In July last year, police stepped up patrols at the site after film footage showed youths wheel spinning in cars at the ground. Six months earlier, a 19-year-old man was also arrested in a crackdown on drug use and anti-social behaviour at nearby Cavendish Hall.

Andy Cawdell, chairman of Thurston FC at the pavilion. Picture by Mark Westley
Andy Cawdell, chairman of Thurston FC at the pavilion. Picture by Mark Westley

Luke Reilly, manager of Thurston FC which uses the recreation ground for its matches, said the trouble has got worse branding the gangs ‘Covidiots’.

“It has been going on for about 18 months and actually worse during lockdown periods,” he said.

“Groups of 10 and upwards meet there, and cause trouble every Friday, and now also in the week. It has to stop."

“At Cavendish Hall, bins have also been ripped off walls and they have found everything from graffiti, drug paraphernalia to human faeces and tampons.”

The football club recently won a £30,000 grant from the Football Foundation and volunteers have been helping to improve the playing surface.

Mr Reilly added: “Despite their hard work, we have found holes burnt in the grass from portable barbecues and discarded fireworks.”

Victoria Waples, clerk to Thurston Parish Council, which owns the recreation ground, said CCTV is now going to be installed around the pavilion, Cavendish Hall and Thurston pre-school in the ‘coming weeks’.

“The vandalism is completely and utterly mindless,” she said.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said: “Pulse patrols have been in operation during November and December where response officers have conducted evening patrols in Thurston.

“Officers from the safer neighbourhood team are also carrying out regular patrols, which remains a priority patrol area.

"Our design out crime officer continues to work with local businesses and the parish council to explore solutions to anti-social behaviour in the area.

"The incident at the pavilion is being investigated and we strongly encourage local residents to report any further incidents to us directly via 101 or the Suffolk Police website, as these reports are discussed in our monthly Safer Neighbourhood Team meetings."

If anyone has any information about the incident on the January 2, please contact Suffolk Police quoting crime reference number 37/965/21.

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