NEW West Somerset MP Rachel Gilmour has been asked to step in after police failed to move a group of youths who set up an encampment in Minehead’s Blenheim Gardens more than a week ago.

The youths broke into the gardens late on the night of July 1 and were still camped in the Edwardian park on Thursday (July 11).

Despite a number of calls to police about anti-social behaviour and early hours disturbances, officers have taken no action other than to attend the scene and speak to the young people.

The encampment was still in place when a Britain in Bloom judge visited Blenheim Gardens with town councillors on Wednesday.

PCSO Supervisor, Katherine Williams said: “We are aware of the persons currently camping in the gardens and we have encouraged them to engage with the correct services who can best support them moving forward.

“This work is ongoing.”

One frustrated nearby resident, Steve Martyn, then appealed to Mrs Gilmour for help but did not receive a response.

Mr Martyn said the group were ‘noisy, drunk, and abusive’ but clearly the police were not taking the matter seriously.

He told Mrs Gilmour in an email he was one of a large group of individuals living in Minehead who shared a special interest in maintaining the quality of the town and its surrounding environment.

Mr Martyn said: “Minehead has a long history of alcohol and drug related issues and for some time Blenheim Gardens was a magnet for these people.

“It seems we are going back to the bad old days.

“Unless the police take firm action it will simply get worse.

“I do not believe the police’s soft touch would have been applied if this was Taunton’s Vivary Park, but then again this is Minehead.

“This is a wholly inadequate response from the police, although not totally unexpected.

“We need strong representation from Somerset Council and an active and effective police presence.

“I should add that we contacted Minehead Town Council and they have stated that Blenheim Gardens is the responsibility of Somerset Council.

“In the last week, a number of individuals have set up camp within the gardens creating a major disturbance with their foul language and drunken, abusive behaviour.”

Mr Martyn said former MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who lost his seat to Mrs Gilmour in last week’s General Election, ‘would have been all over this like a rash’.

He said: “So, let us see how our new MP responds.

“She says she is serious about the local environment and crime and safety, well let us see.”

Mr Martyn said he would welcome Mrs Gilmour meeting him and colleagues to see the situation for herself and tell them what she proposed to do about it.

He said residents had long campaigned to keep Blenheim Gardens as a space free from noise and alcohol.

The Free Press has approached both Mrs Gilmour and Avon and Somerset Police but not received responses from either at the time of going to press.