Fears of an upsurge in vandalism after the Rainham cafe attack

Young thugs have smashed flower pots and hanging baskets in the latest in a series of anti-social incidents.

The attack on the Center Cafe last week is one of a growing number of cases at Rainham Shopping Centre, where police have already enforced dispersal orders to tackle a rise in anti-social behaviour.

CCTV shows vandals outside the Center Cafe in Rainham

The incident was caught on CCTV on April 12 and prompted owner Ayse to speak out on Facebook.

“These fools must belong to someone, right?” she says. “They ruined all the plants and hanging baskets outside the cafe! For what reason exactly? Absolutely disgusting behavior – I don’t know what these idiots are fed?!”

She has since passed CCTV to police, but fears staffing levels mean vandalism cannot be prioritised.

“They’re so understaffed they can pretty much get to serious incidents,” she added. “The kids of this generation are nightmares. The thing is, the parents probably aren’t aware of their behavior. They’re probably acting like angels at home.”

Speaking to Kent Online, Ayse, who did not wish to publish her last name, added: “There is a lot of anti-social behavior going on. Where I live there are cars parked in the road and almost every mornings the exterior mirrors are smashed in. My car was broken into last year – I’m not saying these guys did it, but I’m trying to show it’s getting out of hand.”

Vandals damaged plants outside the Center Cafe in Rainham
Vandals damaged plants outside the Center Cafe in Rainham

“It’s not the police’s fault – there’s not much they can do with the lack of staff. They’re being pushed to the limit.”

She said it was likely the parents of the thugs did not know their children were doing, and said the problem was a deep-rooted societal issue.

“In many cases, I think it’s peer pressure,” she added. “Parents don’t know. At the same time it happened, we spoke to a security guard at Tesco and he said they stole something – it happens all the time.

“They’re all in a group of eight to ten – it’s very intimidating for everyone. They bully little kids – ten-year-olds on their bikes.

“Now for this to happen outside of my shop, I thought I should put it on Facebook.”

She said the damage was around £150, but the financial damage was outweighed by the impact of destroying something they had taken care to create.

“We’ve had the plants since lockdown,” she added. “We tried to give people a place where they can sit and it looks nice.”

The Im January Medway Labor group has called for 80 new police officers to help tackle ‘worrying crime statistics’ and fears of a rise in anti-social behavior – but the motion tabled at the council’s full meeting of Medway was rejected.

It happened the same week that police enforced a dispersal order at Rainham Precinct following a number of incidents.

More recently this month, other incidents at Rainham Recreation Ground, including reports of drug dealing, dangerously driven mountain bikes and abuse, have led to calls for CCTV to be installed and more police patrols.

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