CUSTODIANS of a Keighley community building fear a spate of vandalism and other antisocial behaviour might deter people from using the facility.

The committee which looks after Long Lee Village Hall has now urged local people to rally round and offer their support, following an escalation in problems outside the building.

Long Lee and Thwaites Brow Action Group hires the property from Bradford Council. Charlotte Pullen, chairman of the hall’s committee, said: “We’d like to encourage the community to feel proud of the hall and look after the asset.

“We are lucky to have the building, but unfortunately of late it seems to have become forgotten.

“Not only do we have youths who litter and smoke within the hall grounds, but they’ve begun to vandalise the building, climbing onto the roof and breaking tiles, breaking a gas meter box and throwing things at the window grills on the building.

“They’ve also pulled up plants which volunteers had planted for the hall and graffitied benches.”

Miss Pullen said these problems had worsened over the last couple of months, with groups of children and young people aged from about 10 to 21 being among the main culprits.

She said most of the trouble tends to happen after 6pm, when the hall is usually not in use.

“It’s costing us money, as water has got in where the roof tiles were pulled off,” she added.

“We were looking at getting a youth shelter at one point, but that is on hold until we can get the damage fixed.

“We would like people to make use of the hall more often, to help create a more positive feeling around the building.

“But the issues we’ve had are making them a bit unenthusiastic about coming to the hall.

“It is disappointing when we can’t do the things we want because we’re instead having to spend money on dealing with antisocial behaviour.”

The hall, which is off Thwaites Brow Road, includes an open indoor area for events, as well as a kitchen, office, storage room and bathrooms.

Miss Pullen said: “What money we do have is from fundraising to hold events, or by applying for grants for specific things from the council.

“Generally the hall isn’t in too bad a condition, and it’s mostly used by people who live nearby.

“On a weekly basis we have an elderly group there, arts and crafts, a yoga group and a before and after school club for primary school children.

“There is also a children’s Lego group once a month and annually the Scarecrow Festival and Christmas grotto.

“We’ve been in touch with the police a few times about the trouble, and have a community police officer who visits the hall as often as he can.”

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police responded: “Police in Keighley are aware of issues involving antisocial behaviour at this location, and are working with the hall’s committee and partners to see what action can be taken to address them.

“Antisocial behaviour can be reported by calling the 101 non-emergency number, by using the live chat facility on the West Yorkshire Police website, or by contacting your local neighbourhood policing team directly.”