Attacked – but ‘no police’

Locking-up at Carters Park, Holbeach, are Dennis Bennett, PCSO Jane Gardner, Coun John Spencer and Lorriane Walker.
Locking-up at Carters Park, Holbeach, are Dennis Bennett, PCSO Jane Gardner, Coun John Spencer and Lorriane Walker.

‘Stop these yobs before someone dies.’

Wayne Hodgins (50) was hit in the face with a football, beaten to the ground, kicked and left unconscious after asking a group of youths to leave the park because it was lock-up time.

Two years earlier he received a fractured skull when he was ambushed by thugs at the back of Boyes department store - again after asking them to leave the park.

The latest of a catalogue of anti-social behaviour incidents in the town has enraged park manager Tony Walker and his wife, Loraine, who have made an official complaint to police because they claim they waited 40 minutes at the gates for officers to answer a 101 call before finally giving up and going home.

Mrs Walker said: “We spoke to the duty sergeant on Sunday morning, but we can’t get any answers.

“This was a serious attack, but it was like no-one was listening to us.

“These youths are yobs and should be stopped before someone dies.

“Police need to get tough – being friendly with them isn’t working.”

An investigation is now under way by the police Professional Standards department, preventing Spalding police commenting on the incident.

HGV lorry driver Dennis Bennett rarely sleeps in his own bed these days - because noise at night from Boyes’ car park opposite has driven him to camp in his car at RAF Holbeach bombing range.

Mr Bennett, who works for Fowler Welch Ltd in Spalding, said: “In my job I can’t afford to lose sleep - a tired driver in a car might cause an accident when but when you are driving a lorry you could kill someone.

“The noise starts at 6pm with kids shouting and screaming. Later cars turn up - then it’s engines revving and horns tooting until 2am.

“The police don’t seem to believe how bad it is. When they do come, they don’t take a tough enough line with them.

“I’ve seen the kids playing with the police car - by kids I mean late teens to 20-year-olds. I think this just encourages them.”

Mr Bennett said the anti-social behaviour stopped during a six-week multi-agency zero-tolerance pilot scheme, spearheaded by Coun Nick Worth.

Coun Worth said: “It’s shocking anyone should be attacked in this way.”

However, he said software introduced during the scheme should flag up the area as a hotspot and result in the police stepping up operations.

Since the attack, Mrs Walker has been joining Sharon Hodgins, who is a partner with Tony in Triple SSS Ltd security, for lock-up time.

She said: “We’ve also had the police along so hopefully this is a good sign. My husband’s been attacked too in the past so this incident brings it all back. I know how Sharon must be feeling right now.”

Witnesses to Saturday’s attack are asked to call police on 101, quoting incident 374 of 21st September.