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Council rejects Tonbridge mum's bid for more CCTV cameras in Longmead Park following wrench attack on son


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A Tonbridge mum has spoken of her anger after her bid for more CCTV at a notorious park where her son was attacked with a wrench was rejected.

Doctors told Freddy Wheatley, 14, he was lucky not to be paralysed after the assault, which happened at Tonbridge Farm Sports Ground, also known as Longmead Park, in September.

From left: Freddy, his father, his mother Marie, and his sister. Picture: Marie Wheatley
From left: Freddy, his father, his mother Marie, and his sister. Picture: Marie Wheatley

It followed a string of other incidents reported there.

Following the attack, Freddy's mum, Marie Wheatley, started a petition in the hope of increasing security there, with more cameras, which was signed by 3,015 people.

Speaking after the bid was rejected by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council (TMBC) this week, the 33-year-old said she feared matters would only get worse.

She said: "I'm angry they wont put more CCTV down at the park. I tried to do everything I possibly could to make the park safer for my children, for other kids and even adults.

"The council said that the CCTV down there is already active, but when my son was threatened with a knife down the park in a separate incident they couldn't ID any of the kids because the images were so grainy.

Freddie spent four hours in the hospital. Picture: Marie Wheatley
Freddie spent four hours in the hospital. Picture: Marie Wheatley

"It's ridiculous. A child or adult is going to get killed and no one is willing to do something about it."

TMBC's cabinet decided that the current cameras "do give adequate coverage of the park as a whole and the image quality of the cameras is good", but said increased monitoring would be put in place.

A spokesperson for TMBC said: "In light of the incident which prompted the petition, we have asked the team which monitors our cameras across the borough to pay increased attention to the Longmead sports ground. Any violent or anti-social behaviour will be reported to the police immediately."

Marie now worries for her son every time he goes out the door, as her anxiety "goes through the roof" until he is back home.

She said: "Until then I can't relax."

However, she does not plan to challenge the council's decision as she is not hopeful she will get anything changed.

The teenager had injuries to his spine after the attack. Picture: Marie Wheatley
The teenager had injuries to his spine after the attack. Picture: Marie Wheatley

She added: "I don't think I will get anywhere, to be honest.

"I did the petition with more than 3,000 signatures, and if the council doesn't listen to 3,000 people, what more is there that I can possibly do?"

Kent Police informed that investigation into Freddy's attack is ongoing.

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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