A gang of 10 youths climbed on to cars in a residential street and left at least three windscreens completely smashed and other vehicles with cracked glass or dents to bodywork.
Outraged residents say this is the latest in a string of vandalism incidents across Leighton-Linslade and are demanding that Beds Police steps up patrols as they fear the situation is spiralling out of control as the yobs “run wild”.
One resident, Simon Card of Linslade, has distributed 200 leaflets to households in the vicinity of his Church Road home to call for locals to highlight their crime concerns at the next meeting of Central Linslade Residents Association.
He said: “On Tuesday (October 4) at 9.40pm, a group of 10 youths walked down Church Road, Linslade and climbed on cars to deliberately smash windscreens. Police attended the scene at approximately 11pm.
“I witnessed a youth standing on the bonnet of a car and kicking in the windscreen. A total of three windowscreens were completely smashed, with other cars receiving dents or cracked screens.
“Within the last month, a similar incident happened, where three youths (two on bikes) went down the street, kicking off wing mirrors. “Within the last week, a brawl has also broken out between groups of youths in the area of the Hunt Hotel, Church Road.
“The youths in question have moved on to Linslade Recreation Ground on each occasion. The permanent, pole mounted CCTV camera in the park has been repeatedly highlighted to police.
“I’ve heard it suggested that several other vehicles were damaged on Saturday, elsewhere in Leighton Buzzard.”
Mr Card added: “As a witness to the acts of vandalism, I’m concerned about the escalation of local crime. I’m also concerned that local police appear to only have the capacity to attend one incident at a time, during the evening and don’t have the capacity to investigate local crime sufficiently to stop it escalating.”
Another resident contacted the LBO to say: “This is not the first time this has happened, it has been going on for months. I live on New Road and I have had my wing mirror smashed, my neighbours have also had their windows smashed.
“We have informed our local councillor who has informed the police but nothing has been done. The last three months it has got really bad and it is usually weekend nights, they use the road to cut through.”
Tony James sent us a photo of his vehicle which had its windscreen smashed in Bideford Green in August.
He said: “It was smashed when my wife and myself we’re away on holiday. My daughter was at home and had some friends over. The police seemed to thing some of her friend had smashed the windscreen, and a few others on the estate too. Hopefully she’s and her friend are now vindicated.”
Another resident sent us a picture of their smashed windscreen which happened in Mentmore Road on Wednesday evening.
She said: “We have just had the windscreen replaced on our car by Autoglass.
“The car had been parked opposite Cedars School between 5pm and 8 pm. There were footprints on the bonnet, and it looked like someone had deliberately jumped or sat on the windscreen to break the glass. The Autoglass mechanic who came to replace it said it was the sixth one he had replaced this week!!Apparently there are groups of children/teenagers who roam around the town finding cars to jump on.”
Other residents have taken to the LBO’s Facebook’s page to air their grievances after learning of the Church Road incident.
Scott Burgess said: “This is happening all around Leighton Buzzard in recent weeks and is not fair on us tax payers who are having to claim on insurance cause these yobs are running wild in our town.”
Natalie Fosberry Down said: “Grove Road several weeks ago. Smashed windscreen on one car broken wing mirrors on others!”
Melissa Hunt said: “Saw one with all windows smashed a couple of weeks ago down Garden Hedge and again last week down Nelson Road.”
Nicola A Shackleton said: “Happened in Doggett Street...Sat morning.”
Amy Victoria said: “My neighbour’s car was done in the summer. They smashed every window and even tipped the car!!”
Louise Mason said: “Mine got done on Vandyke Road.”
Barry Turner added: “There is a group of 5 around Leighton Buzzard that are going round causing trouble over the canal round the back of Bassett Road. They are only between 16 and 19ish. The police have to do something about it.”
Graham Quick, chairman of Central Linslade Residents’ Association, said the organisation would be discussing the matter on October 27 at The Ship (7.30pm).
He said: “The residents have been up in arms. They are very, very angry, as the damage has been quite considerable.
“Around three or four cars had their windows smashed and there were big dents in the bonnets.”
He said the vandalism had been raised with local councillors as well as the “poor levels of policing Linslade seems to suffer from”
“I am informed by Beds Police that they established a new operation to enhance policing in Leighton-Linslade on October 3 and that they will be welcoming four new officers to the town from the official launch of the operation on October 12.
“Until it is in place I do not know if it will help stop incidents such as this.
“But the interest shows that Linslade matters - we are not a small town stuck the edge of a county that is forgotten about.”
A police spokesman said: “We were called at 9.40pm on Tuesday (4 October) to reports to a group of young people damaging cars in Church Road, Linslade.
“Officers attended as soon as they were available and spoke to the owner of one of the cars. None of the other owners were able to be contacted and letters were left for them.
“An investigation is ongoing and police are appealing for any witnesses, as well as the owners of the damaged vehicles, to get in touch via 101 quoting reference number JD/40634/2016.”
Back in June, new Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Hollway revealed at a public meeting plans for eight extra police officers for Leighton Buzzard. She tweeted this week in response to the Church Road vandalism: “They are coming on stream from now to December as LB’s brand new community policing team to deal with cases exactly like this.”
The summer meeting also revealed a move for police to share the fire station and a new enquiry office at the ambulance station.