December 7 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 23, 2013
To many, summer tennis brings with it the smell of freshly-cut grass, the cries of “come on Andy” and the taste of strawberries and cream.
But villagers in Brancaster say it leads to the screaming of teenagers and smashing of glass that descends on the village along with the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament.
When play is over, youngsters go en masse to neighbouring villages to socialise.
Lyndsey Burrows runs the village shop in Brancaster, which backs onto a green where some of the teenagers spend their evenings.
“They are like a swarm descending as darkness comes. It’s awful,” she said.
“The problem is they come to where children play and mindlessly throw their bottles away – there’s broken glass everywhere.
“Residents shouldn’t have to go out and pick up broken glass every morning. It isn’t fair.”
The organisers of the tournament, which has been running since the 1920s, said they were willing to work with other parties to try to prevent the incidents.
Chris Holt, who has been running the event for 38 years, said: “We do take it seriously. Prior to the tournament we did send out an email about behaving to Lawn Tennis Association standards – not doing anything to bring the game into disrepute – and we will ban players if we have names.”
Ann Rowen, referee for the junior age group, said: “I feel hurt and let down.
“We put in all the hours to organise the tournament and this is how they repay us.
“What we ask is that they please respect the villages and the villagers.
“There are never any problems while they are here, which is from 9.30am until 7.30pm. It is after that when the trouble starts.”
Although many residents are upset at the behaviour of the youngsters, police said that no criminal offences were being committed.
Chief Insp Dave Buckley, from Norfolk police, said: “These are not criminals, these are, on the whole, kids in their teens having a good time who don’t realise that by doing that they can upset people.
“We try to be balanced in the way we deal with it. We aren’t going to be arresting all these kids and locking them up because they’re on the pavement.”
Borough councillor Tom De Winton recognised that there was a problem and said it would be addressed for next year’s tournament.
He said: “We will be sitting down for a meeting with the police, the National Trust, parish council and tournament organisers so that we can actually make a plan as to what to do in the future.”