SECURITY staff are being drafted in at site that has become a hot spot for anti-social behaviour.

Denbighshire County Council has commissioned the service of a security company to patrol Rhyl’s Botanical Gardens.

The gates will be locked at 9pm each evening and reopen at 8am.

Tony Ward, head of Highways, Facilities and Environmental Services, said: “These measures have been discussed and agreed with the Friends of the Botanical Gardens group to safeguard this important asset for the local community and Rhyl as a whole.

“This will be a temporary measure following the recent incidents however it will be subject to a regular review.”

The arrangement will start on Monday, May 17.

Campaigners have asked readers to sign a petition which urges Denbighshire County Council, North Wales Police and Rhyl Town Council to take "serious action" and to consider implementing strong security measures to end the "intolerable behaviour".

The online appeal has already gained for than 500 signatures.

A statement on the petition page says: "In recent years abhorrent acts of vandalism and Anti-Social Behaviour have been increasing in the gardens, destroying the wonderful work of these volunteer groups who work so hard to provide community services bringing Rhyl Residents into the Gardens. Due to government funding cuts the warden position has been removed, CCTV footage has not been monitored. Police do not patrol the gardens regularly and there is no official security as a deterrent to gangs of youths whose appalling behaviour shows a a total disregard for the gardens.

"Recently, the Bowling Green Lawn was sprayed with graffiti of male genitalia which has destroyed the grass, a fire extinguisher was let off in the fish pond and a rubbish bin thrown into it. Bikes are ridden across the lawns and verges destroying the grass and plantings and vandals have climbed up onto the roof of the community buildings to pull out the internet wiring.

"Community groups are liaising with Denbighshire County Council on initiatives such as closing the park at dusk, visiting the high schools to engage with students and providing a new control system for viewing CCTV footage, but to date there has been no financial commitment to provide serious security such as private security officers and increased police presence to deal appropriately with these hooligans."

Earlier this month the Journal reported how vandals painted obscene graffiti on the bowling green at the gardens.

There has also been two further acts of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage recently.

Dave Cawley, committee member of Sunny Rhyl Bowling club, said: "Attempts were made to break the fence around the green but failed but a bench outside the fence was ripped from its concrete setting

"They succeeded in breaking the fence using some kind of blade and two benches were removed and placed outside the fence.

"This appears to be an attempt at providing a large group of individuals an opportunity to sit together."

The police have been informed.

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/end-anti-social-behaviour-and-vandalism-in-botanical-gardens-rhyl