Residents reclaim the woods

Pc Paul Adams and Coun Elizabeth Gibson, from the Friends, take a tour of Blakeney Woods.
Pc Paul Adams and Coun Elizabeth Gibson, from the Friends, take a tour of Blakeney Woods.
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A PIONEERING project has helped to stamp out antisocial behaviour plaguing a popular beauty spot.

Last year, Blakeney Woods was turned into a drinking den and dumping ground by rowdy booze-fuelled youths.

The woods, which are popular with dog walkers, also attracted fly-tippers who would regularly ditch their rubbish.

Neighbours living in the Hall Farm area flagged up the problems, as well as a complaining about an increase in vandalism and fires being started in the woods.

Last July, the neighbourhood policing team launched the Friends of Blakeney Woods group in a bid to tackle the issues.

Since then, the team has worked tirelessly with the community to help clear up the site.

Police and CSOs carry out regular patrols of the area to keep trouble at bay and the team has worked alongside the Box Youth Project to keep the area clear of fly-tipping.

The wood was also nominated for a community payback litter pick, which saw offenders remove all the rubbish from the area, and a system has been set up for people using the woods regularly to report any issues they come across.

Sunderland South Neighbourhood Inspector Cheryl Warcup said: “The Friends of Blakeney Woods group has meant police, the local community and people who use the woods regularly have been able to work together to tackle the issue.

“The woods are a great facility for the community to have on its doorstep and we want to make sure it is a place that everyone can enjoy.

“We will continue to work together with partner agencies and the local community to make this happen.”

Earlier this month, Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, and Doxford ward councillor Elizabeth Gibson visited the area to see the work that had been done.

Anyone wanting to join the Friends of Blakeney Woods group can contact Pc Les Jordan on 03456 043 043 ex 69191.

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