Published: 00:01, 21 August 2016
Pokémon Go is being blamed for a rise in anti-social behaviour at a picturesque Allington park, including youths allegedly taking drugs and engaging in sex acts.
Residents living near Millennium Green, off Buckland Road, say incidents have been happening almost daily since early July, the same time the virtual reality game was released.
Neighbours are thinking of writing to Nintendo, the creators behind the craze, asking them to remove the three areas of the park that have been designated as Pokéstops in the app, which allows players to “catch” the cartoon creatures at various locations in the real world.
Lorraine Otway, who walks her grandfather-in-law's terrier Charlie there every afternoon, says she has come across drug paraphernalia including bags of marijuana On one occasion she saw semi-dressed youngsters performing sex acts, while a neighbour found a bong.
The 32-year-old, a dust relocation technician at Allington Primary School, told the Kent Messenger: “These walks are usually extremely enjoyable as the dogs socialise and I chat to some familiar friendly faces.
“However, recently my enjoyment, and that of people living in the local area, has been ruined due to a group of youths. It makes me feel quite uncomfortable going there now.
“Some of the things they get up to are horrific, especially when there are young children around. The whole park stinks of cannabis. They are ruining it for everyone else.”
Police have been called several times to the area, maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers from the Allington Millennium Green Trust.
Sgt Nick Hatcher from the community safety unit said the local Police Community Support Officer had been patrolling the park, adding: “While we have received reports of drug taking in the area, no evidence of drug use has been found.”
He said youngsters had been reminded about picking up litter. He encouraged people to keep reporting incidents.
Mrs Otway added: “I feel more people in the surrounding areas should be made aware and support the Allington Millennium Green Trust in an effort to stamp out depravity and so this area can be enjoyed by families and future generations to come.”