'MINDLESS' vandals have taken a pick axe to the £150,000 Bicester skate park in the latest blow of an antisocial behaviour crimewave plaguing the town.

The pick axe vandal broke into the park's building site, in Garth Park, and hacked at the newly-laid concrete, ramps and benches.

The attack is just the latest in a long line of problems reported recently in Bicester and police have pledged to up patrols in tackling the problem.

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PC Vicky Lees, who has been a driving force behind the skate park construction, working with the town council and specialist skate park firm Freestyle, said: "From my point of view it is really sad that this has happened.

"Obviously it is for the young people of Bicester and at this time we don’t know who the offenders are, but CCTV is being checked and the offence looked into.

"The reaction from the people who it means so much to, on the Change Bicester Skatepark Facebook page – they are really disappointed and I was gutted.

"Sadly it is a bit of mindless vandalism which hopefully won’t happen again."


Thames Valley Police has pledged to up its patrols around antisocial behaviour hotspots in Bicester as concerns rise.

Recent Home Office figures show incidents increasing by nearly 50 per cent in just three months.

Statistics show there were 20 reported antisocial behaviour incidents in September, 26 in October and 29 in November.

Among those battling the blight is owner of Bicester Bridal Madelaine Orlando, who owns the shop in Manorsfield Road.

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She said: "Youths hanging around in groups in a town centre, particularly near fast food outlets and sweet shops, is certainly nothing new, and although irritating for shop owners in the area, it is generally harmless.

"However over the last 12 months I have noticed that the attitude of the groups outside my shop has changed, rather than moving on when asked, the requests are now met with abuse.

"There seem to be a couple of ‘bad apples’ amongst the youths who now take this a stage further and have taken to damaging property, both mine and of other local businesses nearby, mainly in the form of breaking our windows."


She added: "The police are fully aware of this situation and I believe are doing what they can to disperse the groups wherever possible, but in terms of running a business with this behaviour directly outside my shop, it certainly has an impact.

"What is reassuring is the amount of support that I have received from not only local residents but also parents of some of the children in these groups who reiterate that the current issues are due to a specific individuals and not the groups as a whole."

Similar problems have also been reported in recent months at Bicester Library which has been plagued with bad behaviour problems.

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Police have taken to dishing out 'dispersal orders' for many cases, such as in Pioneer Square, banning anyone causing antisocial behaviour, harassment, alarm or distress from the area for 48 hours.

Sergeant Kerry O'Leary of the Bicester Neighbourhood Team said her officers were well aware of the problem.

She said: "We would encourage you to report concerns via 101 as often the information is put onto Facebook and not given directly to police.

"This leads to mis-information and may prejudice ongoing investigations.

“We are working with partner agencies to tackle the issues and you will notice an increased police presence in the areas most affected."