HARDLY a week passes without witnessing a mindless act of vandalism, or reading about an incident in the Hereford Times.

While walking to the shop to collect the Hereford Times, I saw a neighbour repairing a garden gate damaged during the night, and a wall daubed with a paint slogan.

Naturally, these brave soulless individuals are rarely caught because they act secretly. Not only are they callous, but also they are totally spineless.

I then read the article concerning the attempt to set fire to Leominster's millennium clock just hours after being unveiled - a true spirit of community must exist in these deranged people intent on spoiling the lives of the majority.

Many ideas for tackling vandalism have been voiced, tried and tested. But, do any actually work in practice? On my estate it is quite usual to see gangs of youths roaming around at all times of the night, yet they are hardly deterred from causing trouble as the police presence is negligible.

Like many, I am thoroughly tired of hearing the usual do-gooders spout out the usual excuses of poor neighbourhood design, lack of facilities for the young, peer pressure etc.

These youngsters have parents who have abrogated their responsibility and should be made accountable for their offensive offspring. People caught in acts of vandalism, then punished by the legal system, should be made to conduct their community service in full view of the community they have offended.

To demonstrate the parents' accountability, materials needed for restoration should be paid for by the parents. Possibly, the parents could also join the community service.

This might just cause vandals to think before acting illegally again, show other potential miscreants what will happen, and demonstrate to a small minority of parents how they will be held responsible for their children.

I would like to stress that the vast majority of children I encounter are well behaved, do not take part in anti-social behaviour and are appalled at those that do. And such youngsters have decent families who teach them good values.

DAVID MCMILLAN, Redhill, Hereford.