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Baptist Church Vandalised

Rye Baptist Church lies no further that fifty paces from our Police Station, yet on a Sunday night at the end of June a great deal of mindless vandalism was done inside the Church. Six windows were broken and the contents of fire extinguishers were sprayed all over the place. Food was taken from the refrigerator and thrown everywhere. Hundreds of pounds will have to be spent replacing the windows and repairing the damage.

We are told that the crime rate has dropped in Rye but how do they come up with these statistics when over the past two years there have been two shop break-ins, a large quantity of roof tiles stolen, cars damaged and a church vandalised, all within fifty yards of Rye Police Station and to cap it all the station itself had three windows smashed!

I believe criminals are actually laughing at our policemen.

Our local officers are fine men and women but they are being asked to provide an adequate service with far too few bodies

The reason for lack of officers in Rye is ‘centralisation’. When will the powers that be learn that the whole thing was a huge mistake. Putting all your eggs in one basket was always a risky strategy. Give us our policemen back now. Rye and the villages need 49 men as they had in the seventies, 15 Bobbies covering the Battle and Rye areas cannot do the job, nor do they have enough contact with Rye people to know who most of the local villains are. Sending a car from Battle or where ever when there is trouble is an expensive and usually fruitless exercise. By the time the police arrive the culprits are tucked up in bed.

There are probably less than ten youngsters in Rye carrying out 90% of all criminal activities. Most are petty criminals but as we all know ‘out of little horrors big criminals can grow!’ As an example of how a few youngsters getting into mischief can escalate into something far more sinister I cite the incident, reported by the “Rye Observer”, that happened on Rye Cricket Salts, a stones throw from Rye Police Station, at the end of June.

A male pensioner, recovering from a recent heart attack, asked a group of youngsters to stop breaking bottles on the cricket pitch and pick up the broken glass. He received a torrent of abuse, was attacked by a girl with a bottle which hit him on the head causing cuts.

The pensioner had to strike out at his attacker to defend himself. He was immediately attacked by several youths. He was kicked and punched repeatedly while on the ground and was left with cuts to his face and head.

Police described this as a cowardly and vicious assault. When will the men at the top stop papering over the cracks with their new initiatives and schemes, that are designed more for publicity than for permanent everyday solutions, and realise that the old system worked and the new one does not?

Give Rye and the villages their 40 missing coppers back and I will not have to keep writing about crimes within a few yards of Rye Police Station.

Scateboard Facilities

How about this for an example of shooting oneself in the foot? I have mentioned in this column before how a group of up to forty youngsters spent hours riding their cycles up and down a bank in the Gibbet Marsh Car Park. They did the most amazing things that seemed to defy gravity. I have been a cyclist all my life but I can tell you some of the complicated manouvers they performed would be way beyond my capabilities. Why do I write this in the past tense? Because Rother District Council, in their great wisdom, have seen it fit to stop all this harmless fun and put a fence along the top of the bank.

Now, the long promised scateboard ramp, which can be used by youngsters on their bikes as well as skateboarders, has not been provided, lack of funds they say, yet £17,000 has been spent on providing lighting for the Car Park at Gibbet Marsh. Why is the protecting of a couple of cars a week more important that looking after the welfare of our young people? The best way to set our youth on the right track is to encourage their persuits not allienate them as Rother District Council have done. Nobody asked local residents if they wanted a fence on Gibbit Marsh – Who authorised it anyway?

Mark Wants More Officers

Mark Coote the Conservative Parlimentary Party Candidate put a news sheet through every door in Rye the other day. It was headlined “MORE POLICE FOR THE RYE AREA”. He says that if the Conservatives get back in power they will recruit 5,000 additional police officers every year for eight years to get a “Greater Police presence”. What a pity they don’t advocate reversing ‘centralisation’ and just spread the men they have back evenly ‘per capita’ and let each area have its own police officers, living and working among the people they are protecting? That way Rye and the villages would get their 49 men back, perhaps even a few more, for as Mr. Blair told us on television the other day “There are a record numbers of police officers in the Force today” there would be no need for 5,000 more officers a year. I repeat once more, if Rye and the villages were deemed to require 49 officers in 1966 they must need at least that number in 2004!Rye-United-Second-Team-1954-55-season-825x510

I Had A Dream

When I was very young my father took me to every Rye United soccer match, both home and away. I enjoyed supporting a team that had no equal in the area. Bill “Blower” Pierce, Michael Lehey, ‘Pickles’ Igglesden, Pope, Weller, Goodsall, Ted Southerden, Fred Masters, these names spring to mind immediately, what a team. They won every Cup and Shield going. We travelled on Alex Henshaw’s coach to the Pilot Field many times in the late forties and early fifties to the Cup Finals.

I had a dream that Rye would one day be in the F.A.Cup Final at Wembley. It was a “Boy’s Own” event where the minnows of the East Sussex League would overcome the giants of Arsenal or Manchester United and bring the trophy back to Rye. Alas Rye were not a big enough team to be invited into the Football Association’s coveted competition. I was told Rye would never play in the F.A. Cup because their ground was not up to the standard required.

Now, fifty years later, that dream has been re-ignighted. Rye & Iden United, as a result of their second placing in the Sussex County League, have gained access to the competition and will play in the qualifying rounds for a place in the first round proper. See you all at the Millenium Stadium!

Jim Hollands

From Rye’s Own August 2004

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