Patrols ramped up around basketball court after neighbour complaints

Joquim and Dawn Pinto

Joquim and Dawn Pinto have been living in the Middlegate area for over 15 years. - Credit: James Weeds

People living near a basketball court in a seaside town say they are desperate for a solution to "anti-social" behaviour blighting the site.

People playing on the the multi-use games area (MUGA) in the Middlegate estate of Great Yarmouth have been accused of verbally abusing neighbours and vandalising the recreation area over the past few months.

"The kids can become quite abusive when they can't find their ball," Joquim Pinto, a resident of the estate, said.

The MUGA in Middlegate, where people have complained about noise, damage to property and verbal abuse.

The MUGA in Middlegate, where people have complained about noise, damage to property and verbal abuse. - Credit: James Weeds

Mr Pinto and his wife, Dawn, shared details of teenagers climbing on top of the nearby substation, playing loud music after 11pm and destroying another neighbour's fence.

There was also a net surrounding the MUGA, to help prevent balls from entering properties around the court, but users of the MUGA took them down.

"It's destruction and it's abuse," said Mr Pinto.

A steel post, which had secured nets to prevent balls flying into people's gardens

The steel post had secured nets to prevent balls flying into people's gardens. The nets were destroyed and have yet to be replaced. - Credit: James Weeds

Sergeant Dan Smith, from Norfolk Police, said: “We have been aware of concerns in the Middlegate area and as a result, this has been a priority for the Safer Neighbourhood Team for the past three months.

Most Read

"Officers have been carrying out extra patrols and making house-to-house enquiries to understand the issues and concerns of local people.

"We have also met with the borough council to see what environmental solutions can be found for the area, as well as working with youth outreach workers to engage with young people and encourage positive activities.”

The pathway which runs between the MUGA and residents' gardens in Middlegate.

The pathway which runs between the MUGA and residents' gardens in Middlegate. - Credit: James Weeds

A spokesperson from Great Yarmouth Borough Council (GYBC) said: “The council takes a strong stance against anti-social behaviour on our estates, initially through informal actions and by offering support to help change the problem behaviours of perpetrators, where their identity is known.

"Our priority is always to support individuals to change inappropriate behaviours and consider formal actions as a last resort."

Fences neighbouring the Middlegate MUGA have been wrecked by people climbing over them to retrieve lost balls.

Fences neighbouring the Middlegate MUGA have been wrecked by people climbing over them to retrieve lost balls. - Credit: James Weeds

Mike Smith-Clare, councillor and Labour's county lead for children and young people, said: “For years young people have felt the brunt of cuts and closures to structured youth services and organised provision across the town.

"More than ever youngsters need safe play areas and activities managed by experienced staff.

"It is this supervision that prevents the problems currently being experienced - and until an appropriate fully funded youth service is reintroduced, then unfortunately similar problems will continue to be experienced.

"Both our young people and local residents deserve better."

Litter in the bushes next to people's houses and the MUGA in Middlegate.

Litter in the bushes next to people's houses and the MUGA in Middlegate. - Credit: James Weeds

If anyone witnesses anti-social behaviour, they should contact Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s tenancy services team on 01493 846529.

If criminal incidents are witnessed, they should also be reported to Norfolk Police on 101.

An abandoned ball near the Middlegate MUGA.

An abandoned ball near the Middlegate MUGA. - Credit: James Weeds

Broken fence panels close to the MUGA on Middlegate Estate.

Broken fence panels close to the MUGA on Middlegate Estate. - Credit: James Weeds

Middlegate Substation

People have been seen climbing on top of the Middlegate substation and verbally abusing neighbours. - Credit: James Weeds