DISGRUNTLED residents have called for tougher action against drinking, drug-taking and anti-social behaviour at a children’s play park on a residential street.

The Colenzo Drive play park is being “abused” late at night by teenagers and adults, people living nearby say.

The issue is said to have been a problem for “many, many, many years now” with some locals being kept up as late as 4.30am on some nights, and others feeling obligated to clean the area the following mornings so that the park remains safe for children.

One resident, William Munday, has met with representatives from Test Valley Borough Council and the police this week to discuss the issues. He believes that up until now the council has been “not interested at all” in helping.

He told the Advertiser: “They just keep saying ‘call the police.’

“My argument is it’s not the police’s problem,” he added. “The council put it there in the first place. It’s their responsibility, they maintain it, they look after it and at the end of the day it’s being abused.

“It’s causing a major problem for us and [the council] think the police should deal with it, but I disagree.”

William says he has suggested solutions such as dummy CCTV cameras or extra signage warning late-night revellers against using the park, but to no avail.

Derrick and Edna Sole, who also live in Colenzo Dive, agree that the issue has been ongoing for years. They say that as well as the beer cans and the anti-social behaviour, they have found syringes in the park the next morning.

Edna adds that those acting anti-socially have also been abusive to police in the past.

She said: “We’ve heard kids out there talking to the police saying, ‘what are you going to do about it?’ And the police, their hands are tied. It’s a shame as kids should have somewhere to play. There’s no solution is there?”

Derrick added: “The only real cure is it has to go but that’s not fair on the kids.”

Reaction from other residents varied, with some saying they are not affected by the issues and others saying they learned to live with it.

One resident who lives nearby said she had to move her bedroom to the other side of the house to get away from the noise. But she understands that it is a difficult situation for which there may not be an easy solution.

She said: “A couple of years ago I had a problem with it, so I had to move bedrooms. But what can you do about it?

“Police haven’t got time to come around and speak to teenagers. And they haven’t really got anywhere to go, have they? There’s not a lot for kids to do. It’s a difficult one.”

A council spokesperson said: “The council works alongside the police to ensure the safety of our sites and play areas across the borough.

“Staff visit the play park regularly to assess and monitor the site, and police will visit the area within their routine patrols.

“While council officers have not identified any damage or vandalism to date, both the council and police will continue to respond to any reports received, and are meeting with a resident of the area next week to discuss this.

“Signs are in place to ask users to ensure the area stays as clean as possible for the community. If residents notice any anti-social behaviour or illegal activity during the night then we would encourage them to contact the police.”