TOWERING weeds which have helped hide troublesome youths are finally to be destroyed.
Over the last five years, a patch of invasive Japanese knotweed has been growing on land next to Springhill House care home on Fairfield Street, Accrington.
It has been a refuge to gangs of youth who have been congregating there, virtually hidden from sight, to drink.
But now Hyndburn Council is to spend £55,000 on removing the troublesome growth.
The plant, which is native to Eastern Asia, can grow up to 23ft high and flourishes in any climate.
Ward councillor Pam Barton said: “Many of the elderly residents are fed up with it. The weed area is right at the bottom of their gardens and some of the youths cut through the properties, which is distressing for them.”
Councillor Barton said Spring Hill Area Council had helped to rebuild the boundary fence but problems still remain.
She said: “When the young people go home the weed travels with them on their shoes and spreads into other gardens. I know there are problems with knotweed in other parts of the borough but for whatever reason Spring Hill is very bad.
“I am absolutely delighted that this problem is finally being taken care of. I know the work is supposed to start in May to make sure it is completed in time. Otherwise it will have to wait until next year.”
Community beat manager PC Mick Walsh said: “We increase patrols in the area during the summer to make sure the gangs are not causing problems.”
Kath Parkinson, manager of Springhill Care Home, said: “The weeds are on land which borders ours. On the other side are the homes of elderly residents in sheltered accomodation and I know some youths have caused problems for them.
“We tried to buy some of the land off the council a few years ago so we could deal with the problem but couldn’t afford to. I am glad action is being taken but I am sorry it has taken so long as it has been an ongoing problem.”