A parent has complained to the parks department after Community Payback were witnessed standing around smoking cannabis in front of children playing when they are meant to be paying back for their crimes.

She said: “I just had to report the Payback team to their “supervisor” as they were standing around smoking weed. In front of playing kids. Supervisor thought they were playing football….!?”

Community Payback is a punishment which requires offenders to pay back the community for the crimes they have committed. They have to carry out ‘demanding’ unpaid work as a sentence from the courts for between 40-300 hours.

This isn’t the first time there has been an incident in the park involving the Payback Team, another local resident living near to the park reported witnessing a fight break out with obscene and hate language exchanged in 2017.

As a consequence the incident was reported back by the team supervisor and the man removed from the Payback team and returned to court.

At that time the parks contract had been outsourced to a private company idverde but was brought back in house early this year. 

At April at the last Croydon Parks, Woodlands and Open Spaces Forum, the council spoke of the ‘good work’ being done by the Payback Team in relation to Grangewood Park.

This was meant to have included repainting the historic Ross Road gates which were sanded, primed in grey paint by community payback  three years ago and then abandoned. In the last month after repeated requests  for a start date for repainting the gates a two metre section of railings were poorly painted and left in this shady state (see picture).

There have been similar complaints over then standard of work at Trumble Gardens and Thornton Heath Rec where the the Payback team were also due to be painting railings but were provided with two tins of paint but no brushes or sandpaper!