More patrols will be carried out at a children's park after an increase in reports of drug activity.

Police say they are aware of an increase in drug taking and dealing at Harwoods Recreation Ground in Vicarage Road, West Watford.

One parent said he saw older teenagers passing younger teenagers what he believed to be cannabis last Friday, describing it as "grooming", while Watford Borough Council's contractors Veolia found a needle and other drug-related litter during a clean-up last weekend.

We visited the park on Wednesday, after Veolia had visited, and found bits of rubbish and cigarette wrappers but no evidence of drug use.

Hillingdon Times:

Hillingdon Times:

These photos of rubbish were taken at the park on Wednesday

The parent, who did not want to be named, says drug taking in West Watford has become "blatant" and has called for more CCTV. He also suggested the loss of a previous youth facility at Harwoods has had an impact on the latest behaviour at the park.

In 2016, the council confirmed it would demolish supervised playgrounds at Harwoods and Harebreaks, despite campaigners fighting to save them. Sixteen people lost their jobs. Two new unsupervised playgrounds were built in a £1.4m project.

Holywell Labour ward councillor Nigel Bell has also raised concerns.

Cllr Bell said: "I have reported the almost daily drug dealing at Harwoods and police are aware. I am concerned about needles being left near where children are playing as well as other unpleasant rubbish. There is also a similar issue at Vicarage Road cemetery.

"When staff were employed at Harwoods, they were the eyes and ears. It's possible we are now seeing the consequences of losing that supervision."

Hillingdon Times:

Last week, police in Watford sent an email to people in the neighbourhood which confirmed the force was aware of an "increasing problem" involving anti-social behaviour, drugs, and alcohol at the park and in nearby bushes.

Read more: Heroin and cocaine taken off the streets of Watford

Sergeant Matt Langley, from the Watford outer safer neighbourhood team, added: "Drug crime and the accompanying anti-social behaviour can have a hugely negative impact on communities and I want to reassure residents that we are doing all we can to crack down on drug-related activity in Watford.

"Members of my team regularly include the park on their patrol route but they will now visit on an even more frequent basis to provide a high visibility policing presence.

“We already work closely with Watford Borough Council, which owns and manages the park, and will discuss the need for a longer term solution in our next partnership meeting."

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Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, added: "We are aware of an incident of drug dealing and taking at Harwoods Recreation Ground. As soon as we were made aware, swift action was taken by police to resolve the matter and our partner Veolia cleared the scene promptly. When incidents like this are reported to us we act quickly.

"The well-being and safety of our residents is so important. We will not tolerate crime of any kind in our parks and open spaces."

The council and police urge the public to report suspicious behaviour or drug-related activity in Watford. Call 101 or report online at