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Youths treat pensioner's garden as a footpath

AN elderly woman's garden has been treated like "a public footpath" by youths using it as a shortcut to a Barnoldswick park.

Jean Holdsworth has had her fence panels smashed through and removed by trespassers cutting through her property to reach Clough Park. And she says she has even seen her neighbour's fencing being used as firewood.

Pendle Borough Council officers are now considering a plan to seal off the route by extending a six-feet-high metal fence behind the gardens and erected as part of a series of measures to deal with persistent problems at the site.

The fencing only extends to a wall running below North Street which can easily be scaled, providing a route through Mrs Holdsworth's garden to North Street and Manchester Road.

She said: "They've been treating it like a public footpath.

"I once saw three teenagers sauntering through my garden and when I asked them what they thought they were doing, they just ignored me. I couldn't do much about it because what chance have I got against them at my age?

"I even had seven replacement panels stacked up at the side of the garage and they vanished.

When my son went to look for them he found them at the bottom of the embankment behind my garden.

"But the thing that really bothers me is having people walking around my garden at night - it's very frightening."

Mrs Holdsworth agreed that the problems at Clough Park had been greatly reduced since measures - including the removal of a shelter - were introduced.

Previously the park had been the source of constant complaints.

The manager of Pendle Council's parks, cemeteries and outdoor recreation department, Colin Patten, said the authority was now deciding whether it could afford to install fencing behind Mrs Holdsworth's home as part of a wider exercise.

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