Warning over 'reckless' vandalism

May 06 2022

The damaged installation at Mangotsfield Station Picture: Rob Higgins

The damaged installation at Mangotsfield Station Picture: Rob Higgins

POLICE have called on parents to talk to their children about "reckless" antisocial behaviour after a series of fires, vandal attacks and stone-throwing by teenagers in Mangotsfield.

In one incident a brick thrown from Rodway Common smashed the windscreen of a car being driven by a mum with a young child inside.

Several fires started on the common are being treated as arson attacks, and police are also investigating a vandal attack nearby on a temporary structure built as part of an art installation at the former Mangotsfield Station, on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. Police, who have stepped up patrols in the area in response to the incidents, have warned someone could be “badly hurt”.

Two incidents involving stone throwing at cars driving on Manor Road, next to the common, were reported. Just after 4pm on March 26, a woman driving with her child in the car had her windscreen smashed by a brick thrown from the embankment at the side of the common.

On March 28 at about 5.20pm another car was scratched by stones thrown on to the road, and the driver reported seeing two boys throwing the stones.

Neighbourhood PCSO supervisor Georgia Bush said: “This reckless behaviour could lead to someone being badly hurt and I urge people to report any such incidents to us straight away. We’d also like parents and carers to speak to their children. Please explain how dangerous this behaviour is.”

Anyone with dashcam, CCTV or smart doorbell footage which could help to identify the offenders should call 101 and quote the crime reference number 5222 072 919.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service was called to five fires in four days on the common at the start of the school holidays, three of which are being treated as arson.

A fern bush was set alight at around 12.20pm on April 8, with grass and bracken set on fire at around 2.45pm on April 10. The following day an area of grass and woodland was set alight shortly after 4pm.

Police are also investigating damage to a temporary wooden structure erected at the former Mangotsfield Station as part of a planned year-long arts project called Mangotsfield Folly, organised by transport charity Sustrans and funded by Emersons Green Town Council and Arts Council England.

It was put up by architects Artel 31 in April but before any of the planned artworks could be displayed it was damaged.

A police spokesperson said “six or seven youths” were seen damaging the structure at around 5.30pm on April 14, adding: “Officers attended and the youths fled the scene on foot. The offenders were described as being in their late-teens and wearing dark clothing and balaclavas.”

Anyone with information should call 101 and give the reference number 5222 088 763.

A Sustrans spokesperson said damaged panels from the structure had been removed and there would be discussions with the architect on “remedial action”. 

She said: “Before the project started we had not had any reports of antisocial behaviour on the site (other than a bit of graffiti) so it would have been really difficult to predict what the reaction would be to the project.” 

Cyclist Rob Higgins, who lives near the site, said: “This area has its fair share of anti-social behaviour, albeit by a small group which partake in alcohol and smoking of weed, trying to block the track with debris.

“This structure in its present form creates an ideal area of late night congregation and unwanted additional concerns, worries and extra work for us people trying to keep the area maintained.”