Bowls club caught underage vandals on CCTV told off by police

Bowls club caught underage vandals on CCTV told off by police

August 23, 2022

Bowls club who set up sting to catch teenage thieves and vandals are told off by police – for filming the underage yobs without PERMISSION

  • Harehills Park Bowling Club in Leeds saw an ‘unprecedented amount’ of damage
  • To catch the vandals, volunteers set up CCTV cameras at the historic clubhouse 
  • They filmed the youths during their latest spree and called the police a day after
  • However, police told the volunteers off for capturing the vandals on camera  

A group of bowling club volunteers who set up a sting to catch young vandals on CCTV have been told off by police – for filming the youngsters without permission.

Harehills Park Bowling Club in Leeds has been the victim of an ‘unprecedented amount’ of vandalism and break-ins over the last eight months.

Just in the last few weeks, the club has had its shelters destroyed and someone tried to break into a shed in broad daylight – which amounted to around £3,000 of damage.

The bowls club, established in 1907, decided to get CCTV to catch the vandals. Only hours later, volunteers discovered one of the memorial benches had been destroyed.

The CCTV footage had stopped recording – but captured clear images of the youngsters before they put on balaclavas and vandalised the CCTV.

Police were called to the bowling club in Leeds the day after the latest damage, when the youths returned to the green and were recognised by volunteers 

Severe damage was caused to several different parts of the club’s property – costing it thousands of pounds. The vandals have now apologised and volunteers even invited them to play a game at the club

The next day, the same group of youths approached members on the green and asked if they could play.

Recognising the youths, volunteers rang the police who advised them to lock the vandals on the bowling green until they arrived.

However, West Yorkshire Police criticised the bowls club for taking a video of the youths who tried to break in.

In a statement posted on social media, a Harehills Park Bowling Club member said: ‘The police actually complained to me for taking a video because they are kids.

‘We literally did their job for them, instructed them how to apprehend them, yet protecting them because of their age, the law is not on our side when it comes to youths.

‘The reaction of them being caught, tears, feeling nauseous I hope we have nipped it in the bud.’

A club representative said property had been destroyed repeatedly in the past few weeks 

They added: ‘I made it clear the upset that had been caused, the time and money spent, how long we had been in existence, they apologised and they were made aware that they can come back anytime to play bowls and even sit in the greens but not do any damage.

‘Apparently they will be forced to write a letter of apology and parents informed.

‘We gave the officers our leaflets to give to their parents and we can only hope that they are decent people and are ashamed and do the right thing and speak to their kids and know exactly what they are doing and who they are with in future.’

Laura Hassoun, chairman of the club said: ‘We just hope that they come and have a game with us, and respect the game moving forward.

‘The police took them home and made them write an apology, so we just hope that they do have decent parents who are going to be responsible and hopefully come forward and come and meet us.

‘We don’t expect any compensation financially but meeting us would be the best way forward for us.’

There is currently no law preventing people from taking photographs of others in public, and this includes taking photos of other people’s children.

West Yorkshire Police said: ‘Police attended Harehills Bowling Club at about 6.10pm on 19 August after it was reported that a male who was alleged to have been involved in an incident of damage at the location on the previous night had reattended with others.

‘Officers liaised with the reporting person and two 13-year-old males received community resolutions after they admitted to being involved.

‘Reports of burglary and criminal damage are taken seriously and will be investigated, with action taken against those who are found to be responsible..’

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