THE mother of a boy who was brutally attacked at a Witney Park claims CCTV in the troubled park is long overdue.

Kim Clout’s petition calling for cameras in The Leys has received more than 1,100 signatures since being set up after her son, Jack, was assaulted there.

The beating is one of many worrying recent incidents at the park and came two hours before a man was hospitalised by a gang of ‘up to eight’ people nearby.

Read also: Man brutally beaten by 'group of eight' near The Leys

Witney MP Robert Courts is backing the petition and called for the town to ‘get a grip’ on anti-social behaviour, while Witney Town Council says CCTV in The Leys has been a ‘long term aspiration’.

Ms Clout works at a nearby assisted living facility and says the latest attacks are part of a growing problem.

She said: “My friends and family have been saying it’s needed for a while. The incident with Jack isn’t isolated.

The Oxford Times:

“My nan broke down when she saw Jack’s face. Her and my auntie don’t want to walk through the Leys, even during the daytime.

She’s lived here all her life and it shouldn’t be like that.”

Thugs knocked Jack unconscious and stamped on his head in the seemingly unprovoked assault near the skate park on Saturday, June 29.

Read also: Teenager knocked out in shocking attack at park

Police are investigating the attack, which happened between 10pm and 10.30pm, but have so far not reported any arrests.

Ms Clout, 36, said: “Jack couldn’t give a clear witness statement as he was knocked out.

“CCTV would have showed it or it might even never have happened.

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“The council should ask the people of Witney what they want, because I don’t know one person that wouldn’t go for it.”

Police do not believe the attack on Jack, 17, is linked to the second incident that night, which saw a 28-year-old man set upon by a gang between midnight and 12.30am on Sunday, June 30 between The Leys and St Mary's Court. He sustained a fractured eye socket and shoulder and back injuries in the attack.

Much-loved Witney cafe The Coffee Shed, located in The Leys, has also repeatedly been targeted and was burgled in the early hours of April 18.

Read also: Spate of anti-social behaviour in Witney

The business was unavailable for comment amid rumours of more anti-social behaviour last week.

Witney MP Mr Courts responded to the latest attack by throwing his 'full weight' behind the petition.

He said: “There is a growing problem of anti-social behaviour at the park, with the regular sight of under-age drinking and vandalism making residents feel unsafe.

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“Recent cases of violence – including the two dreadful incidents on the night of LibFest – show the need to get a grip on this issue."

The park's three-year Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which bans certain activities, has now expired, but meetings are set to take place with a view to it being renewed.

Read also: Police urge Leys vandals not to be a 'stereotype'

The town council contributes £10,000 per year to Witney's CCTV scheme, which is run by Thames Valley Police and West Oxfordshire District Council and is currently under review.

A mobile camera was placed in The Leys 15 years ago but was never replaced, but the town council hoped to have CCTV installed in the park when the play area and paddling pool were upgraded in 2015.

A spokesperson said the match funding originally promised 'was not forthcoming', adding that the council's capital budget in 2018 included £10,000 for CCTV in The Leys, Burwell Recreation Ground and Burwell Hall.

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The spokesperson added: "It has been a long term aspiration to have CCTV on the Leys, however the town council has to ensure that it would be effective and resourced effectively – the only solution to ensure it is monitored appropriately would be to have it linked to the Town CCTV Scheme."

Read also: Teenager attacked by up to 12 people at skate park

She added: "Given the wide expanse of the Leys Recreation Ground the location of the camera would need to be carefully considered to ensure the optimum coverage of the area – particularly given the amount of trees in the vicinity."

Last month, the town council approved a range of measures aimed at returning sustainable youth services to Witney, to help counter the changing landscape of youth work in Witney and a spate of antisocial behaviour.

Steve Good, the district council's cabinet member for communities and housing, said: “I continue to work closely with the police to consider the best way to safeguard our communities in Witney and I’m confident that by taking a partnership approach, we will identify ways to deter such behaviour and to encourage people to enjoy all the town has to offer in ways that don’t cause alarm and distress to others.”

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson added: "We are working with our partners to review the crime prevention measures that are currently in place.

"Installing CCTV on The Leys is one of the options that is under discussion with WTC and WODC. All incidents reported to the police are taken seriously."