DOZENS of concerned residents met with representatives from City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police over vandalism by youths.

The Press reported last week that sheds, structures and plants had been destroyed or burned in Scarcroft Allotments, with the damage reaching an unacceptable level.

Councillor Jonny Crawshaw set up Monday’s meeting, which was attended by more than 30 residents.

Cllr Crawshaw said: “[There were] lots of stories of low-level vandalism, but a number of plot holders talked about feeling intimidated or scared to go up to their plots.

“The perception is that there has been an increase in anti-social behaviour and this is borne out by the calls to 101 which have seen a sharp rise in the past few months, though this could be due to better reporting.”

Members of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team agreed to look at how they could work with the local community to address the issues raised by residents and plot-holders, which Cllr Crawshaw said could involve speaking to local schools “so that young people get a better sense of who grows on the allotments and what their allotments mean to them”.

Cllr Crawshaw said further measures would also include extra patrols in the area, and potentially undercover policing to identify and speak with the people involved.

He said: “We also discussed ways of possibly formalising a safe-space for young people to be as there was wide acknowledgement that the lack of Youth Services in the city was part of the problem – the sense being that these were bored rather than malicious young people.

“All in all, though there was some clear concern, it felt like a positive meeting with some short and longer term actions identified.”