HOURS after offenders finished clearing up Walcot’s dilapidated Sussex Square, teenagers visiting youth cafe Our Place covered the Walcot centre with rubbish.
Councillors asked for offenders working with the Community Payback Team from the Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company (BGSW CRC), which is replacing Wiltshire Probation Trust, to clear the square after grass, weeds and bushes were allowed to grow wild.
On Friday last week and on Wednesday this week teams spent hours weeding, raking, scraping and sweeping the Square to make the area a more pleasant place to visit and enjoy.
Debbie Estarbrook, manager at the Walcot Charity Shop and Library, was disappointed with how quickly the youngsters had undone all the good work of the offenders from the Community Payback Team.
She said: “The guys did such fantastic work out there clearing it up, it was all overgrown before and they really worked hard, cutting back all the weeds.
“It made the Square look more respectable and a nicer place to work.
“When I went home on Wednesday night it looked really, really good, they had done such a good job.
“But this morning the place was covered in rubbish that kids visiting Our Place had thrown everywhere, just for fun.
“There was one of them there who said it was him and another lad who had just been messing around, who was picking some of it up again.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was so disappointed after all thehard work.”
It was hoped that clearing up the area would encourage residents – including youngsters – to take pride in their community and look after the square, and ultimately reduce cases of anti-social behaviour.
Coun Abdul Amin (Lab, Walcot and Park North), who called the Community Payback Team to tidy the square and was also instrumental in setting up the Our Place youth cafe as a safe place for youngsters to meet, said he was disappointed that the teens had had the bin fight although some of them cleaned some of it up the following morning.
He said: “I’m a bit disappointed with what’s happened and I will be speaking to the police and the council about it to see what we can do to prevent it happening, as well as to local residents.
“I’ll also be speaking to the Street Smart team to ask if it can be cleared up.
“We worked hard to set up Our Place because there was a big demand for it, and I asked the Community Payback team to come out because the Square had become so overgrown and untidy.
“It’s unfortunate that this has happened.”