CONCERNS have been raised by Firthmoor residents over crime and anti-social behaviour in a Darlington nature reserve.

Sandra and Graeme Simmons, of the Moorfield estate, attended the monthly meeting of the Maidendale Nature and Fishing Reserve Trust to voice their concerns that the reserve was a hot spot for “undesirables” looking to cause trouble.

Mr Simmons said that he had three cars damaged since moving to the estate in 2006 and that gardens near the Ridgewood Close entrance were often ridden over by motocross riders making their way into the reserve.

He said: “You are attracting undesirables into the area and eventually there is criminal damage in the streets,” he said.

“You get gangs of lads on summer nights going on to the reserve and causing trouble, then they come out and start kicking cars.”

David Preston, secretary of the Maidendale Nature and Fishing Reserve Trust, said that the original plans stated that there were to be five entrances to the reserve from the Moorfield housing estate.

These have been made impossible due to large fences constructed around the estate boundary by the builders but plans are afoot to create a second entrance on Richmond Way.

Consultation letters are being sent to surrounding households to get their views on the extra entrance.

Members of the trust also assured the Simmons’ that they were aware of problems on the reserve which is why it has been identified as a Police and Communities Together (PACT) priority area for many months.

Ward councillor Lee Vasey said: “What we are trying to say is the fact that we are not just disregarding the issues, this is something that we are very involved with and taking very seriously.”