POLICE have arrested five youths in connection with a spate of vandalism in the Spring Hill area of Accrington.
The arrests follow an attack which caused extensive damage to the community centre in Fairfield Street and the smashing of windows in the nearby bus shelter in Pickup Street.
The same gang has been linked to incidents in which youths have run over cars, knocked on windows and hurled abusive language at residents. The five, aged 15 and 16, have been charged in connection with the damage to the community centre and with carrying an offensive weapon.
Sergeant Bob Eaton, the newly-appointed community beat manager for Spring Hill, said: "Some of those arrested are not even from the immediate area. It is clear that some long-term solutions will be needed to this problem.''
He added that an interim Anti-Social Behaviour Order imposed on 15-year-old Aaron Stoddard, said to have brought terror to both Spring Hill and part of Church over a two-year period, had gone a long way to reducing some of the difficulties in the neighbourhood. But he warned that the continuing vandalism meant that plans to bring new youth facilities to the area had been put on hold.
He has appealed to residents to provide him with evidence of other nuisance incidents.
He said: "I ask them to continue with their efforts to provide me with evidence of further incidents so that we can build on the weekend's arrests to target the criminal element in these groups who spoil the quality of life for other residents.''
Inspector Phil Cottam said it was important that they had the help of parents in ensuring that their children were not causing any further problems.
He added: "Parents need to know that when the police receive evidence of such behaviour they will act to ensure it is curtailed. Our recent use of the Anti-Social Behaviour legislation shows that we are quite capable of doing this.''