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Country Park visitors get safety assurances

Visitors to Boston's picturesque Witham Way Country Park have said they feel reassured following a meeting where they expressed safety concerns to Boston Borough Council and police.

It was agreed that extra signs in English and other languages would be installed in the park giving a 24-hour manned number - 01205 314200 - for people to call to report non-emergency incidents.

Sgt Callum Scott reminded the park users that if they felt threatened or intimidated they should use their mobile phones to call 999. PCSOs at the meeting also said incidents that were not emergencies could also be reported using the 101 phone number. All reports should make clear the address - Witham Way Country Park, Tattershall Road, Boston, and include the postcode PE21 9LP.

Sgt Scott said there would be an increase in uniformed police patrols as a result of what he had heard. PCSOs would also have more of a presence, cycling around the park, and there was a possibility of plain clothes police with dogs patrolling.

Regular visitors over some years to the park, many of them dog walkers, heard the importance of reporting all incidents so a clear record and understanding of any anti-social behaviour could accumulate.

Some said they felt intimidated and vulnerable by the presence of others in the park and were being put off from going there. They told of incidents where they had been confronted by suspicious and intimidating individuals and groups, some under the influence of alcohol. One said he had come across a group of eight young men having a party with two barbecues which went on through the late afternoon and into evening. The next morning he counted 37 empty cans, but "some good Samaritan" had cleared all the debris away 15 minutes later.

George Bernard, Boston Borough Council's head of environmental services, said his staff would clear any debris and rubbish away. Calls for this should also be made on 01205 314200.

Others said there had been frightening incidents with dogs off their leads, a discovery of a brutal arrangement of hooks for catching fish left where dogs could injure themselves on it and one occasion when someone was shooting pigeons and rabbits.

Sgt Scott said the park was covered by the drink control zone recently introduced by the borough council and enforced by the police and urged that incidents of consumption and possession of alcohol were reported so action could be taken.

He was asked to make the police presence at times of most risk - 9am to 9.30am and Fridays, Saturday and Sundays between 6pm and 7pm.

One resident said he had experienced rapid response from the Environment Agency to fishing out of season. Anyone suspecting illegal fishing activity should call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

All measures will be trialled for three months with a progress meeting called for 10am on Tuesday, June 30, at the Haven Cafe near Grand Sluice.