Vandals warned after targeting Flying Start centre

Vandals have been reported to South Wales Police after they were caught on CCTV attacking a centre which provides free support and help for young children.

The Flying Start hub at Blackmill in the Ogmore Valley provides local families with high-quality childcare for children aged under four, help with early language development, health advice, access to parenting support and more.

In recent weeks, staff at the centre have recorded a number of incidents where children and young people have been filmed tearing down gates, knocking holes through the wall of the building and destroying the outdoor play area.

They have also thrown large stones at the building, many of which now litter the roof, have attacked the CCTV system, and have destroyed outdoor features created by young users of the centre such as bug hotels, a vegetable patch and flower gardens.

Cllr Nicole Burnett, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, said: “The Flying Start facility is there to help people, and this vandalism is forcing us to spend money on repairs that could otherwise have been used to benefit local residents and provide the children with fun activities.

“The Flying Start centre is a community facility aimed at local families. If left unchecked, this vandalism will damage the building beyond repair, and will make it unsafe to use.

“The footage and these incidents have all been reported to South Wales Police, and work is underway to remove some of the shrubbery and landscaping around the centre to make it easier for local people to report any criminal behaviour that they may spot taking place.

“In the meantime, I would ask parents to speak to their children, and remind them that such behaviour is not only costly, it has serious consequences too.”

Chief Inspector Geraint White of South Wales Police said: “These facilities are for the benefit of the whole community. Senseless vandalism which could take the centre out of service at such an important time, as we emerge from lockdowns, is incomprehensible. My team will continue to focus on the area to support the community and prevent further incidents. Anybody who has information about who is responsible should contact us.”

To contact South Wales Police when it’s not an emergency, visit https://www.south-wales.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/, email SWP101@south-wales.police.uk, send the police a private message on one of their branded Facebook or Twitter accounts, or call 101.

 

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