A secluded public garden in Stanmore has been forced to close its gates during the weekdays after park benches and planters were destroyed, while a swastika was seen etched into the ground.
Bernays Gardens, next to Saint John the Evangelist Church and just moments from the high street, has been coping with repeated anti-social behaviour, littering, and damage over recent months, with residents accusing local college students of being behind the behaviour.
Volunteers who restore and maintain the gardens have noted their frustration at the repeated damage to the park, with one shocked at the damage when they went to close the park in the evening.
In a tweet from October 5, Stanmore Park Police said: “We are aware of the multiple complaints, calls, and emails regarding anti-social behaviour/drugs etc. from college students. We are working closely with the college in order to curb incidents and deal with those involved appropriately.”
A separate tweet from October 21 stated: “We are aware of anti-social behaviour/criminal damage and littering caused by some of the Stanmore College students at Bernays Gardens.”
Following a meeting involving representatives of Harrow Council, local councillors, Bernays Gardens Society, Stanmore College, and residents, Stanmore Park Police agreed to implement CCTV to cover the gardens better.
A spokesperson for Stanmore College said: “Stanmore College has zero tolerance of drug misuse, antisocial behaviour, and damage to property. We set clear standards, have clear procedures and students found guilty of any allegation of gross misconduct are subject to exclusion.
“At the public meeting on November 1, we were informed that there was no evidence that the damage was caused by a learner.”
They added: “The college responds to all incidents that we are informed about. Members of staff recently left the campus to deal with three incidents which we were informed involved our learners. But they were not Stanmore College students.”