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Bury St Edmunds Tayfen Nature Reserve hit by suspected drug dealing and anti-social behaviour

Residents are calling on police to take action against anti-social behaviour and suspected drug dealing at a Bury St Edmunds nature reserve.

They have spoken out about the issue at Tayfen Nature Reserve following what they say was an ‘appalling’ police response to an incident on Saturday afternoon involving a gang of between 20 to 30 teenagers.

The group gathered in the reserve’s play park and residents say some were ‘intoxicated and off their heads’ with suspected drug dealing taking place.

Tayfen Reserve in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mecha Morton
Tayfen Reserve in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mecha Morton

Police were called but residents say only one officer initially attended the scene, which prompted the group to scatter but later returned.

The residents say the police should have taken a ‘more robust response’ and have called on them to do more to tackle the ongoing problem at the reserve, off Spring Lane, which includes youths congregating in the bushes at the reserve and alleged drug dealing.

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said officers attended the area ‘several times, engaged with those present and found no evidence of criminal activity or behaviour’.

Inspector Matt Paisley. Picture by Mecha Morton
Inspector Matt Paisley. Picture by Mecha Morton

One girl in the group was seen to have ‘collapsed twice and was dragged up by her friends’, while another teen collapsed underneath the slide in the park.

A resident said: “There was one lad there, a girl went up to him and passed him money. They were openly drug dealing. He passed a pill or something to her. Before this happened one police officer turned up.

“When the police officer arrived the dealer was there, there was about eight to nine of them but then they all came back again after she had left. The police officer we saw just had a quick chat with them and off she went.

“It ended up they were all back in the park again, about 30 of them, with the lad still under the slide off his head.

Tayfen Reserve in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mecha Morton
Tayfen Reserve in Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mecha Morton

“Then there were two more who had taken something – one was rolling about on the grass and one was trying to run up the slide.”

The teens remained until about 6pm to 7pm and police told the resident’s partner they had been back but had not seen any drug dealing.

The resident lodged a complaint with the police about their response and received a phone call from an inspector and an email from the safer neighbourhood team.

“They should have come to talk to us but they didn’t,” the resident said.

“This shouldn’t be happening. Nobody could go in that park on Saturday, it was that intimidating.”

Another resident said they called the police ‘mainly for the welfare of the children because they were obviously intoxicated’.

They said teenagers have been congregating in the bushes on the reserve for six months to a year and they have seen packages being exchanged.

“Someone arrives on a bike, they shake hands and the person goes away again – that happens a lot,” they said. “We find the little plastic drug bags around.”

On Saturday’s incident, they said: “The police response was appalling. These kids were at risk and they did nothing, not to mention the intimidation the neighbours feel. I feel a little bit helpless because there’s nothing we can seem to do.”

Temporary Inspector Matt Paisley said Suffolk Police received two calls at about 4.30pm.

He said: “The Bury St Edmunds Safer Neighbourhood Team continue to be pro-active in patrolling this area, and we would encourage the community to continue to report concerns to us regarding anti-social behaviour, concerns for safety or any other criminal activity to enable us to deal with any issues robustly.”

A West Suffolk Council spokesman said they are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour at the reserve and have had two incidents of damage to the play area in the past 12 months.

He urged residents to report incidents as and when they are happening to the police.

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