A YOUNG businesswoman plagued by vandals has today urged the police and council to do more to help her.
Gabriella D’Agostino blames her problems on a youth shelter in a park off Bramston Street between Brighouse and Rastrick.
The 21-year-old had converted an old toilet block into The Secret Garden Florists four years ago, but she says the business has suffered a spate of attacks in recent months.
These have included smashed windows, graffiti and twice this month her sign has been ripped from the wall.
The second time on November 10 the £500 handmade sign was smashed to pieces – so now she has a new large sign which she has to remove and store inside the business every night.
Gabriella says things have become so bad she has now stopped phoning the police for a crime number.
“I don’t need another crime number, I need something doing about the vandalism,’’ she said. “We believe the problems started when the shelter was built and many residents in the area now want the shelter to be dismantled.
“The park is just mess and destruction with alcohol bottles and cans everywhere, the remainders of gas cans, bins damaged, litter scattered and the remains of roll-up cigarettes.
“The shelter has been the source of trouble in the park area. This shelter has had a petition to be removed, but nothing has come of it. This shelter needs to be removed.
“They do not respect it being there at all and should not have the advantage of the hang-out point to get drunk and high.
“The result of this shelter being in the park is resulting in my shop and business being damaged. The police don’t want to know.’’
Gabriella added: “It has now come down to me having to remove my remaining sign from the outside wall in the evening and bring it inside, leaving my shop to look derelict and unkempt – an image for my business I never want to portray.’’
A Calderdale Council spokesman said: “The youth shelter has been in place for more than three years, but in the in the last three months we have had no issues raised concerning it.
“If anybody has any issues they wish to raise regarding the shelter we would welcome their opinions and would ask that they contact the council.”
No-one was available to comment from the Lower Calder Valley Neighbourhood Policing Team that patrols this area.