A council has installed a barrier at Cassiobury Park in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour in the car park.

Watford Borough Council is making the move following a surge in police reports of drug crime and associated anti-social behaviour in its car park in Gade Avenue.

Several separate incidents occurred during the evening in the car park last week, including hundreds of small silver canisters left scattered across the car park.

Watford Observer:

Silver canisters were found dumped in the car park on Sunday

To combat incidents like this, the council confirmed the new barrier will stay down during the night between 10pm and 7.45am in a bid stop cars getting in.

During the park's opening times between 7.45am and 10pm, the barrier will remain lifted to allow cars to enter the car park.

Watford Observer: Watford Observer:

The barrier has been placed at the entrance of Gade Avenue car park and is set to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “Abuse of our parks is never acceptable and there is no excuse for it. We will not stand for it. We are working closely with the police, who are regularly patrolling parks across Watford.

"It is disappointing that actions such as barriers are necessary but I am grateful to the vast majority of people who visit our parks and behave responsibly.

"Our local parks and open spaces have been a lifeline for many people over the past few months and we will do whatever it takes to protect them.”

Hertfordshire Constabulary has also stepped up its patrols of the park, with the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team "fully aware" of the "issues" in Cassiobury Park and its car park.

In one case on Wednesday, June 17 police were called to reports of drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in Gade Avenue car park.

Police say a small quantity of drugs and drug paraphernalia were recovered after they detained several vehicles before searching them and their occupants.

Later on the same evening, officers had to break up a large gathering of young people in the same car park.

Inspector Pete Edwards, who leads the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “I fully understand residents’ frustrations and why they may perceive that no action is being taken, however a huge amount of intelligence has been recorded which is vital in helping us take even more robust and appropriate action.

“We are also working closely with the park rangers and our other partners at Watford Borough Council to put a longer-term solution in place, so we will share news of this when we are able.

“In the meantime, we will continue to patrol the park and use our powers to detain, stop, search and disperse – and where necessary, arrest – anyone who is using these areas to gather, commit crime and cause problems for those living nearby.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is for residents to keep calling and reporting incidents to us. This will give us an accurate picture of the hotspot locations we need to include in our patrol plans so we can catch these people in the act.”