Wales

Anti-social behaviour: Maesteg people 'scared to be at home'

Police have been running patrols
Image caption South Wales Police have started a new operation to tackle anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour in one town has left people scared to be in their own homes, residents have said.

Since the start of 2019, problems in Maesteg, Bridgend county, have included town hall windows smashed with bricks and stones thrown at people's homes.

One resident said they no longer wanted to go home after work.

South Wales Police has launched a new operation and is running extra patrols to try and tackle the issue.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said things had taken "a more sinister form of wilful damage to private property and vandalism".

They said: "Standing guard over my property and vehicle, night after night, doesn't give me any meaningful rest between my shifts at work.

"When you no longer wish to return home after your working day, you then quickly realise that these events have got out of hand."

Operation Monstera started in February and work by the neighbourhood policing team and the organised crime unit resulted in a drugs raid at a property in Caerau near Maesteg on Monday.

About 540 cannabis plants worth £350,000 were seized and two men - aged 42 and 45 - have been charged with production of a controlled drug of Class B.

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Police conducted a drugs raid near Maesteg on Monday, seizing hundreds of cannabis plants

Sgt Matthew Beynon said there had been a rise in anti-social behaviour over the past few months.

He added: "We're responding to the communities' needs and what they actually want. We now have a high visible presence within the town centre and the anti-social hot spots.

"We are trying to stamp it out and make a positive difference for the community."

Police said in the past two weeks the amount of calls relating to anti-social behaviour in Maesteg has decreased.

A South Wales Police spokeswoman said a number of youths and their parents have been spoken with about their behaviour, and the youths have signed anti-social behaviour contracts.

Image caption Sgt Matthew Beynon said there has been a rise in anti-social behaviour over the past few months

Maesteg East councillor Keith Edwards said the town had not experienced issues "on the current scale before".

He said: "My fear is that if this allowed to continue it has the potential to develop into something far more serious with members of the public retaliating when their property is vandalised."

Sgt Beynon said early intervention was key and added: "We are trying to engage with youngsters to get them off the street and get them to engage in something proactive.

"Whether that is rugby or cooking with a copper scheme we are running to try and get them to interact with the police and respect their community, which will prevent anti-social behaviour occurring."

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