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Club scolded by police for filming vandals

Club News

A West Yorkshire Bowling Club have been scolded by police for filming young vandals wrecking their property. Harehills Bowling Club in Leeds decided to take matters into its own hands after experiencing an ‘unprecedented’ amount of break-ins and damage but incurred the wrath of the police for their actions.

Some of the £3,000 worth of damage to the Harehills Park Bowling Club, in Leeds.

A group of bowling club volunteers who set up a sting to catch young vandals on CCTV have been told off by police - for filming the youths without permission. Harehills Park Bowling Club, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, has experienced an “unprecedented amount” of vandalism and break-ins over the last eight months.

In the last couple of weeks, they have had their shelters destroyed and someone tried to break into a shed in broad daylight - which has amounted to around £3,000 of damage.

The bowls club, first established in 1907, decided to get CCTV to catch the vandals, but hours later discovered one of their memorial benches had been destroyed. The CCTV footage had stopped recording - but captured clear images showing the youths before they put the balaclavas on and tampered with the camera. One of the club's memorial benches was destroyed by vandals. The next day, the same group of youths approached the members who were on the green again asking if they could play. Members at the club recognised the youths, explained they were leaving in 10 minutes and just minutes later - the youngsters were back. But the members had tricked them and, in fact, rang the police who advised them to lock the vandals on the bowling green until they arrived.

However, West Yorkshire Police complained to the bowls club for taking a video of the youths who tried to break in, as they are “kids”.

In a statement posted on social media, Harehills Park Bowling Club said: “The police actually complained to me for taking a video because they are kids. “We literally did their job for them, instructed them how to apprehend them, yet protecting them because of their age, the law is not on our side when it comes to youths. “The reaction of them being caught, tears, feeling nauseous I hope we have nipped it in the bud.” In the last couple of weeks, the club has had its shelters destroyed and someone tried to break into a shed in broad daylight. They added: “I made it clear the upset that had been caused, the time and money spent, how long we had been in existence, they apologised and they were made aware that they can come back anytime to play bowls and even sit in the greens but not do any damage.

“Apparently they will be forced to write a letter of apology and parents informed. “We gave the officers our leaflets to give to their parents and we can only hope that they are decent people and are ashamed and do the right thing and speak to their kids and know exactly what they are doing and who they are with in future.” ‘We just hope they come and have a game with us’

Laura Hassoun, the chairman of the club said: “We just hope that they come and have a game with us, and respect the game moving forward.

“The police took them home and made them write an apology, so we just hope that they do have decent parents who are going to be responsible and hopefully come forward and come and meet us. “We don’t expect any compensation financially but meeting us would be the best way forward for us.”

There is currently no law preventing people from taking photographs of others in public, and this includes taking photos of other people’s children. West Yorkshire Police said: “Police attended Harehills Bowling Club at about 6.10pm on 19 August after it was reported that a male who was alleged to have been involved in an incident of damage at the location on the previous night had reattended with others.

“Officers liaised with the reporting person and two 13-year-old males received community resolutions after they admitted to being involved.

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Aug 25, 2022

Typical of the Police. No doubt they didn’t get a proper telling off. Many young people have little respect for the Police. Why?

Possibly due to their aims and objectives are all about working with the community , creating a fairer environment and other woolly statements. This explains why you can see them relaxing having a coffee in some local libraries waiting for people to call in for a chat. There is no mention of preventing and detecting crime in their objectives.

Meanwhile a bowling club is left with a bill to put the damage right.

Philip of Lindley

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