St Albans legion HQ vandalised as teen yobs rampage through suburbia

Police attended the incident in New England Street

Police attended the incident in New England Street - Credit: Archant

Yobs who broke a window and strew litter across the car park at the St Albans Royal British Legion branch have been accused of showing disrespect to war veterans in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

Chairman Don Dell discovered the club had been vandalised when he went to the premises in Verulam Road on Saturday morning to prepare for a children’s party that was being held there later that day.

He believes the damage was connected to a group of teenagers who were seen causing a large-scale disturbance in nearby New England Street at around 11pm the previous evening.

Mr Dell said: “Apart from the broken window which is costing money it is the disrespect. They know what the building is and what it represents and just to come along and scatter rubbish all over the place I cannot get my head around.

“If they have got energy like that to use up please use it on the Poppy Appeal as I need helpers.”

According to Edgar Hill, a resident of New England Street, up to 60 teenagers aged between 16 and 17 congregated outside his home on Friday night and were swearing loudly, kicking front doors and urinating against cars.

He said: “The whole street was kept awake. There was a lot of elderly neighbours who were quite frightened. One woman locked herself in her back bedroom.”

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Mr Hill has also criticised Herts Police for taking 40 minutes to arrive on the scene after receiving his initial call about the commotion.

The 53-year-old added: “I think the police priorities calls based on what the public says when they ring up and I don’t think they believed us when we said there was in excess or 40 young people there. I think they came unprepared and were shocked.”

His comments were echoed by local county councillor Sandy Walkington, who said: “This was a terrifying experience for local residents in a quiet residential area. There can be no excuse for the police taking so long to respond to calls.”

St Albans Chief Inspector Ken Townsend said when police arrived they spoke with a number of youths and dispersed the crowd but had not receive any reports of criminal damage.

He continued: “Police attended New England Street in St Albans at 11.30 pm on Friday following reports of anti-social behaviour from a large group of youths in the area who had been guests at a private party at a house nearby.

“We received the first call complaining about the group at 11pm and a second call at 11.11pm so we immediately dispatched resources to deal with the incident.”