Tearaways still ruin our games

Wellesley Park Bowling Club is being terrorised by tearaways. From left: Councillor Keith Hutson with members Peter Fleming, John Crowther and Connie Jenkins

Wellesley Park Bowling Club is being terrorised by tearaways. From left: Councillor Keith Hutson with members Peter Fleming, John Crowther and Connie Jenkins

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ELDERLY bowlers have told how they are still being terrorised by yobs who hurl abuse and trash their green.

Members of Wellesley Park Bowling Club, Halifax, say they are being harrassed and intimidated by tearaways in their early teens and twenties.

The trouble came to a head last August when police had to be called to a game and now, nearly a year on, the situation has only got worse.

The gang has plastered the clubhouse with graffiti and broken a skylight by climbing on the roof.

They have also taunted players, invaded the green and stolen balls during competitive games.

The Courier witnessed one thug yell “this is our turf” at some of the veterans.

Club member John Crowther said the situation was now so bad that many players had considered leaving.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to come up here and have a social afternoon,” he said.

“Eventually people will say: ‘I can’t be bothered’.”

Connie Jenkins, who joined the club 13 years ago, said: “I wouldn’t like to come up here on my own, because I feel intimidated.

“I don’t think any members would come up here by themselves.”

Club spokesman John Stewart said much of the trouble stems from broken fencing which allows the yobs to get in.

When the Courier first reported the problems last year, Calderdale Council pledged to carry out repairs - but Mr Stewart said not enough had been done.

“Pathetic attempts were made to patch up the holes, but these have just been ripped down and further holes appeared,” he said.

“It will be the end for us if the council do not act now and try to save the club.”

He also said Halifax High School, which is next to the site, needed to take more responsibility for its pupils, who he claims have damaged the green by using it for cricket and football at lunch-time.

Keith Hutson (Lib Dem, Warley) said he was in talks with the school and police to see what can be done about the problems.

He said: “These people’s lives are being absolutely ruined by thugs. It’s more than mischief - it’s harassment.

“They are being driven out by people who think they are gangsters, and in fact they are just oafs who should have more respect for their community and their elders.

“There is nothing tough about terrorising a bowling club.”

A Calderdale Council spokesman said: “We are working with our partners, the community and the bowling club to address these issues.”