The public turned out in numbers last Wednesday to voice their growing concern and frustration about a wave of vehicle vandalism that has swept through parts of Banbury.
Banbury Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG) had already scheduled a public meeting at Ruscote Community Hall but the timing could not have been more prescient as it came during the midst of a vandalism epidemic that is angering residents of Ruscote and Hardwick estates, which have been hardest hit.
In attendance were representatives from Banbury Police Station, Sgt Andy Baylis and PC Ian Allen, community warden James English, Labour town and district councillor for Ruscote Mark Cherry and Banbury NAG chairman Steve Kilsby. Also attending was Cherwell district councillor for Hardwick and lead member for public safety, Tony Ilott.
Reports of random acts of criminal damage to motor vehicles in the area started to emerge on November 12 and reached a peak two days later.
Sgt Baylis told the meeting: “The number of cases is up to 50 now, that covers from the evening of the 12th to the last one which was reported at 2pm this afternoon.
“People are unhappy about it which I would be if it was my car. We are doing as much as we can. There are dedicated officers on it, there’s tasking set up to enable officers and response officers, just to reassure and deter and gather as much evidence as we can get.”
Although the number of reported incidents has reached the half century mark the feeling among residents present was that this was a conservative number with other acts of vandalism going unreported.
Sgt Baylis said: “Don’t be scared to use 999. If you see a crime in progress then 999.”
In addition the police force are monitoring social media and urge anyone who sees posts bragging about crime to take a screen shot and email it to the police. The use of CCTV is also a top priority and one favoured suggestion was the introduction of mobile CCTV cameras to the area after residents’ concerns over coverage in the area.
If you have information call 101 or contact Banbury NAG.
> A 15-year-old male from Banbury was last week arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage. It was in connection with a number of incidents of criminal damage in Ruscote and Hardwick.
He was bailed until December 11.