RESIDENTS in Kendray are becoming ‘scared to leave their homes’ - after a spike of antisocial behaviour saw a group of 50 youths start a huge fire feet away.
At 8.30pm on Monday, firefighters from Barnsley station attended the fire, on Farm Road.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, believes the youths congregated in Kendray Park and dragged wooden pallets into bushes before setting them alight.
They said two police cars attended the scene, but eventually left, and the resident has subsequently called for more patrols in the area.
“There needs to be more policing in that area - they can get extra bodies in for football matches but not for this.
“People work hard, we don’t deserve this - I am at a point where I don’t want to leave my house.”
Another resident, of nearby Broom Close, said antisocial behaviour had been going on for years but ‘had never been as bad as this’.
“We’re putting it down to Covid - we don’t know where to turn, we’re frightened to leave our own houses,” they added.
Coun Andrew Gillis said yobs’ behaviour is ‘making residents’ lives a living hell’.
Coun Gillis said: “Do the parents know what their children are doing at night? Our job is to upkeep amenities, and these incidents are costing thousands and thousands of pounds.
“I phoned another resident who said they’d had glass thrown in their garden.
“Bins are being stolen regularly - it’s getting ridiculous. You need to get rid of the top layer of trouble causers.”
He believes a way forward may be to put a curfew in the evening on people attending Kendray Park.
Coun Gillis managed to get neighbourhood services to remove the burnt wood left from the fire, but he worries a nearby house, currently shut-up and under the management of Berneslai Homes, will be the next target for a deliberate fire.
Inspector Rebecca Richardson told the Chronicle: “We are aware of ongoing issues of antisocial behaviour in Kendray Park and are working with colleagues at Barnsley Council to ensure the park can be enjoyed by everyone.
“The Barnsley West Neighbourhood Team, alongside council wardens, are conducting patrols in and around the park area to identify those involved in recent reports.
“Following incidents of arson, we are also patrolling alongside South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to educate youths in the area around the dangers of setting fires.
“We continue to ask the public to report incidents of antisocial behaviour as it helps shape our ongoing work, patrols and operations, information can be provided online via our website or by calling 101.”