WINCHESTER residents are pleading for police action after seeing their local greenspace "ruined by idiots".

A group of neighbours in Abbotts Barton have come together to try and stop antisocial behaviour at Hillier's Haven, off Hillier Way.

They say that different people have been using the space every night for the last two months.

Kate Warde showed a Chronicle reporter around the site.

Broken glass coated the floor, smashed bottles and litter was strewn across the ash-covered bushes and a hammer and a saw was discovered by a tree, which was missing a few branches.

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Ms Warde said: "There are fire pits here which is not a bad thing – but they are being misused by different groups. Some of them are teenagers, others seem to be in their 30s. Our space is being ruined by idiots.

"They are often passing out drunk from their antics which continue through the night and the hidden broken bottles and hammer are likely backup weapons if they are confronted. The fires are being lit with branches cut from the trees.

"Surely Winchester City Council are obligated to sort this? Put high fencing and gates around the area and have it locked up by 9pm. I've had to move out of my bedroom and sleep downstairs because it's too loud."

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Residents have also reported hearing explosions during the night, thought to be caused by aerosol cans being thrown into the fire.

Mark Brown said: "There is a sign as you walk in saying this is a nature reserve – yet they are cutting down the trees and doing serious damage all round.

"This place used to be used by nursery children to learn about nature but they just can't do that anymore because it's too risky with all the broken glass.

"For a start there is definitely underage drinking going on, and there is evidence of drug taking. So not only is this illegal, but it's ruining our day to day lives.

"Winnall Moors is gated to keep antisocial behaviour away, so why can't the same be done for this family area?"

City councillor Dominic Hiscock turned up to speak with residents on Saturday (July 4).

He told the Chronicle: "We've never really seen trouble here before. It seems like a small group of people that need to be moved away and warned.

"A lot of the residents want the area to be regulated. We just don't have the level of staff to do so.

"Some locals have been cleaning up after the groups, which is of course great to see. It's a shame that a small group of people feel the need to abuse such a nice area."

A Winchester City Council spokesperson added: “We are aware of the recent anti-social behaviour at Hillier’s Haven, and we are working closely with the police, fire service, local residents and ward councillors to identify ways to put a stop to it. We are looking at all the options, including closing the fire pits, although we know they are valued by people who use them responsibly, so this would be a last resort and until recently these features have not prompted any complaints.

“Any incidents of antisocial behaviour can be reported to the police by calling 101 and also to us directly on the council’s app”