Outrage as gravestones are vandalised in Rugby park

Cllr Dale Keeling by one of the gravestones
Cllr Dale Keeling by one of the gravestones

Gravestones in Rugby have been desecrated by people urinating and scrawling graffiti on them.

Police have increased patrols in Trinity Park in a bid to combat the antisocial behaviour, which has increased with the warm weather and light nights.

And officers have warned groups congregating in the park, off Clifton Road, that action will be taken to stamp out the behaviour. Police powers include the confiscation of alcohol, on-the-spot fines and banning orders.

Cllr Dale Keeling, a member of the borough’s crime and disorder committee, said he witnessed a man urinating against a gravestone.

He said: “I felt disgusted by what he had done.

Cllr Keeling visited the park after concerns about loutish behaviour were raised with him by people who live near the park.

He added: “I would like to see the police using their powers to deal with groups carrying out antisocial behaviour.

“We don’t want the park becoming a no-go area for those who want to enjoy the green space.

“People would also like the gravestones either laid flat or flush against walls and fences to stop people hiding behind them and using them as toilets.”

One resident, who asked not to be named, said the problem of groups congregating began about 18 months ago and also includes noise late into the night, drug-taking and litter.

He said: “There are no toilets, so they urinate all over the park. I’m not saying they are intimidating, but when they are in large groups they can appear intimidating and people have started avoiding the bench areas.

“When the wind’s in the right direction you can smell the cannabis. I know the police have a hard job and limited resources but this is a no-alcohol area. They should start dishing out these £60 fixed penalty notices and then the word would soon get around.”

Sgt Sarah Masters, of Rugby police, said as well as officers patrolling the area, Rugby Council’s community safety wardens and town rangers had also responded to complaints.

She said: “It’s a known location for people drinking in the grounds and if we see people drinking alcohol it is taken off them.

“It’s something we are constantly addressing. We do react to concerns and do take action. If it’s something we need to be aware of, then people should call us.”