A GROUP of youngsters who have been congregating outside a Crawshawbooth church and harrassing its parishioners have been slammed as ‘disrespectful’ by a church deacon.
Helen Bell, 45, a Deacon at Goodshaw Baptist Church in Burnley Road, Crawshawbooth, said the actions of a small group of youths was undermining the community’s hard work in improving the church.
She said: “A small minority of children have been hanging around outside the church and making a nuisance of themselves.
“On several occasions they have been kicking footballs against the windows, verbally abusing parishioners when they have been challenged, smashing bottles and during a prayer vigil this Easter they were even looking through the windows, mimicking us and making rude gestures.
“The sad thing is we would always allow the children to meet at the church if they were struggling to find somewhere, all they would have to do is talk to us.
“Now, as the weather is getting better, they are meeting every Thursday and Friday night and the following morning the entrance to the church is littered with broken glass and rubbish.”
Childminder Helen, of Clarence Street, Crawshawbooth, said her only option was to call on the police to stamp out the problem.
She said: “As a church, Goodshaw prides itself on its relationship with young people and we even run an annual camping trip where we take a large number of children away.
“This small group of youths are not the typical respectful children of Crawshawbooth.
"We are now at the end of our tether and ready to call on the police to force them to congregate elsewhere.”
The issue was raised at a recent police and communities together meeting and officers have said patrolling the area will be one of their top priorities.