A COMMUNITY Payback project to clean up Pontefract’s Horsefair flats has been abandoned because of a vandal attack.
Wakefield Probation’s Community Payback team has scrapped the project – where offenders were brought in to repaint and clean up the flats – after vandals daubed graffiti over freshly-painted walls.
The team – working with Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team (NPT) and Wakefield and District Housing – spent more than 374 hours refurbishing the flats, which would have cost more than £2,000 in paid work.
Philip Oldroyd, project officer for Community Payback, said: “A regular team of offenders worked on the site and saw first hand the positive outcomes for local residents, something which significantly increases the chance they’ll stay crime-free.
“It is extremely disappointing for all those involved to see that work ruined.
“Once we can ensure that any future positive community work will be upheld, we would welcome the opportunity to return to the site with the vandal to rectify the damage that has been caused.”
Two youths were arrested in connection with the vandalism and received cautions.
Insp Richard Sullivan, of Pontefract and Knottingley NPT, said “These acts of graffiti and are more than just criminal damage, they show a total disregard to all the hard work and good will that Pontefract NPT, Community Payback and WDH have done in trying to improve the environment and improve the quality of life of local residents.
“Individual tags that usually form the graffiti have been photographed by my team so they can be shown to members of the community in the hope that the perpetrators will be identified and arrested.
“I urge those responsible to come forward.”
Anyone with any information can call the police non-emergency number 101, email or Facebook message Pontefrcat and Knottingley NPT or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.