Thornton Heath has experienced unprecedented levels of anti social behaviour during the Covid-19 lockdown with police having to deal with triple the normal number of crimes.

The Thornton Heath ward has also seen the levels of violent crimes double to 80 offences in May compared with the same month in 2019. 

Police say the rise is likely to be attributed to domestic related incidents as there has been rise of 20 per cent increase during April and May across the borough.

But while crime levels in Croydon overall during the pandemic have seen a 40 per cent decrease; trends in all three Thornton Heath wards have dramatically increased.

Police have also been busy tackling the drugs problem seizing in excess of 20 bags of cocaine along with cannabis during early morning raids which saw two people arrested for possession with intent to supply class A drugs. 

The operation was led by the Thornton Heath Safer Neighbourhood Teams as part of a wider operation across London. A cannabis factory was also uncovered with a large quantity of plants seized and 10 arrests made.

Bensham Manor and Thornton Heath wards have both seen crime levels double in April in May with compared to 2019.

In Bensham Manor in April there were 94 instances of ASB cases with 209 crimes committed during the month compared to 19/103 in 2019.

In May 89 out of 175 were ASB compared to 26 of 130 in 2019. 

Thornton Heath Rec in the ward has been a hotspot for complaints about all-night organised parties with DJs setting up sound systems with the music blasting out until 3am. Partygoers arrive by car causing parking chaos in neighbouring streets and leave behind mountains of rubbish.

The Rec, known as Melfort Park backs on to houses, with residents complaining that the parties are no longer just happening at weekends but up to four times a week.

In response to concerns about large parties and unlicensed music events in parks the council has set up a dedicated telephone number for residents to report weekend issues which began on Friday (July 31) and is likely to be extended during August.

On Saturday a party that started at 2pm in Melfort Park under the guise of a children’s event was allowed to go on despite not having a licence. Police told organisers it had to close at 7pm but it continued and no action was taken. Instead a nearby off-licence was ordered to shut after it emerged it was providing electricity to the party.

There have also been noise complaints about loud shouting and singing after organisers of a party held in Grangewood Park on Friday night arrived with generators and lights. The unlicensed event run from 10pm to 4am was advertised on this flyer (pictured) and promoted  by former soldier turned music artist/DJ: Boasy Solgy. Partygoers are loaned out headphones at £10 a time to reduce the noise after midnight.

In the Thornton Heath ward in April there were 123 ASB reports with 242 crimes compared with 34/161 in April 2019.

In May the ASB figure stood at 112 with 299 crimes committed including high levels of violent crime. This compared with 44/193 in May 2019 and 37 violent offences. 

The issue with street drinkers continues to plague the the High Street and in May the historic Clocktower was set on fire. The blaze was confined to the wooden doorway which was subsequently boarded up. Eye witnesses said a group of drinkers had been hanging around the clocktower most of the day.

The police have asked the council to remove the seats, put in less than two years ago and alternate the bricks on the wall to make it more difficult for groups to loiter. The area has become a no-go area with streets drinkers occupying the seats most days and on Saturday one brought a pet snake along with him.

All three of the Thornton Heath wards have also experienced higher than normal levels of vehicle crime.

Sgt Andy Smith told The Chronicle: ”We did have a rise in vehicle crime in comparison to the rest of the borough and from looking at the figures we attribute this to The Grange pub. This was a hotspot for offenders coming to use their drugs and rough sleep. When looking at a map of the offences during this time there is a large circle around the location of the pub and as such I believe offenders were staying at the pub and leaving for the purpose of committing offences and then returning.”

The disused former pub, which has sat empty for more than a decade despite having planning permission for housing, has now been vacated of rough sleepers and been boarded up. 

In West Thornton crimes hit 320 in the ward in March mainly due to a huge escalation in vehicle crime totalling 69, where as there had been just nine in the previous March.

It was a similar picture on ASB in April 132 out of 313 crimes compared to 32 and 192 in April 2019 and May 103 of 271 and in May 2019 43 of 208.

Sgt Smith added: “In relation to the ASB calls, every call that came in around Covid related breaches of which there were lots went under the umbrella of ASB and as such there were lots more than 2019.”

The police and council neighbourhood safety are working together on a plan to put to the Parks Board to put in place restrictions in Thornton Heath Rec.