YOUNGSTERS fighting, dealing drugs and climbing on the roof have led to security measures being beefed up at a village hall.

West Bergholt Parish Council have been dealing with the crime and anti-social behaviour issues at the flagship Orpen Memorial Hall in Lexden Road for several months.

The rising level of problems has also included damage to vehicles and other petty vandalism.

But now the council has been awarded up to £1,000 to upgrade their existing CCTV equipment and install brand new state-of-the-art cameras to catch people in the act and make them identifiable to the police.

The new high definition cameras are set to provide maximum visual coverage around the building.

Council bosses applied to the Safer Rural Communities Fund – part of the Rural Crime Toolkit launched by Colchester Borough Council in October last year and supported by the Safer Colchester Partnership.

The scheme, which has been developed alongside the Essex Police Rural Crime Strategy, provides advice and guidance to help identify what the problems are and how to address them. practical solutions to address them, preventative measures and a guide on how to apply for funding.

Up to £1,000 per application is available from the fund set up to support schemes that tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in Colchester’s rural areas.

Not-for-profit groups, including voluntary or charitable organisations, community groups, parish councils, faith groups and community interest companies can all apply.

Public safety boss Mike Lilley said: “I’m delighted we have been able to support West Bergholt Parish Council with this key funding, which will help to prevent crime, reduce the fear of crime and support local residents.

“We all have a part to play in making our communities safer, friendlier and more liveable.

“We’re building on the council’s investment in police numbers, by offering this toolkit and committing funding to support the implementation of schemes that tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in rural areas. Our toolkit and funding supports the delivery of our pledge to make streets safer and our communities more resilient.

“By working with parish councils, businesses and the police, we will reduce the impact crime has on our rural communities, helping to create a Better Colchester.”