YEAR after year, rowdy yobs on mopeds would gather outside the locked gates of a Portsmouth park, revving their engines.
They would often break in and run riot inside College Park in Copnor, waking up people living nearby.
But police hope the problem has now been resolved – by simply opening up the park at night.
The gate on Copnor Road is now left open, drawing the youths away from homes.
The scheme was tested last March and police say it has successfully combated the problem.
PCSO Helen Jolley, who was on the team that tried out the idea, said: ‘The change occurred almost instantly.
‘There are fewer people going there now and the ones who do still go are much less rowdy.
‘Noise was always the biggest issue, it wasn’t so much that the area was dangerous, it was more a place for people to gather and that caused a lot of issues for the residents – all they wanted was a good night’s sleep.
‘They are really pleased with the results and hopefully the success of the pilot will continue.’
But one resident, who didn’t want to be named, disagrees and claims the problem has just been moved on.
He said: ‘It hasn’t really made a much of a difference, the kids are still coming here and doing whatever they want, only they’re doing it in the park instead of outside our houses.
‘The murmur of kids in the park is not as bad as big groups of 30 or 40 of them outside our doors but it’s not enough.’
Police held a barbecue and football tournament in College Park yesterday to thank the community for their support.
PCSO Jolley added: ‘We organised the event to say thanks to the residents for helping us beat the problem and to the youths too for their co-operation.
‘This project worked well because we listened to the residents and what they wanted. We have built up a stronger relationship with them and the community wardens through it and this was a chance to get everyone together and have some fun.’
The football tournament was organised by Motiv8 and the food donated from Tesco Express on Copnor Road.