Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome - St Austell

A couple who came "under siege" from youths who vandalised their property and held rowdy parties on their land have solved the problem by building a £500,000 golf course to give them something to do. Retired hoteliers Andrew and Mary Flint have endured more than 20 years of anti-social behaviour from bored teenagers who trespassed on their 11-acre estate. They were subjected to verbal abuse when the gangs gathered on their land and around a farm near their home, drinking, stealing and damaging property. So, when the farm came up for sale, the Flints decided to buy it and turn the 20 acres of land into a nine-hole pitch and putt golf course. Mr Flint, 65, and his 76-year-old wife say the course acts as a barrier to keep troublemakers away, and gives local children something do.

More than 20 years. You get far less for murder. I'm amazed they look in such good nick. I'd either have died myself or killed someone. They must be saints.

And what of the local police ? What were they doing over 20-odd years ? I know that if they arrested the courts might not convict - and if they did, they'd only get told by a magistrate not to be naughty. You have to try very hard to get a meaningful punishment. If only the couple hadn't been white !

But all the same ...

Police in St Austell have welcomed the course and said it will help reduce anti-social problems. A spokesman said: "The area of Boscundle has suffered problems with groups of youths gathering in certain areas. There is little in the way of resources and public transport and any new youth-based activities will help. In a rural area such as this one of the issues we have is teenagers who have a lack of proper facilities. A golf course like this is a very welcome amenity and will undoubtedly help reduce crime."

The triumph of the sociologists is almost complete. Crime is caused by a lack of 'something to do'. Now I know that the Devil finds work for idle hands - but that's an argument against idleness, not for the provision of entertainment.