TROUBLE: Youth “gangs” and home eggings spark CCTV pleas
Town councillors agreed to request an enforcement update at the next meeting in December, Image: Teesside Live
“GANGS” of unruly youths breaking glass and egging homes have prompted calls for more cameras to be considered in Yarm.
More police officers were rolled out across Teesside in response to a spike in reports of trouble around Halloween.
And Tuesday’s Yarm Town Council meeting heard how problems hadn’t escaped the streets of the town.
Cllr Andrew Sherris told councillors of recent cases of disorder which had come to his attention.
The Stockton councillor said: “We have what appears to be two gangs of 13, 14, and 15-year-olds – one gang which is actually headed by a girl.
“We’ve had problems on Leven Park and Willey Flats fields.
“It’s not just last weekend, which we would expect at and around Halloween, but it’s been going on now for quite a few weeks.”
Public bodies brace themselves for disorder to increase on and around October 30 on Teesside.
Cllr Sherris told the chamber he’d urged the public to report incidents to the police so they were logged.
“It’s no good just moaning about it, you’ve got to ring in, log the situation,” he added.
“The more times people ring in and log it, the higher up the list it goes and we eventually get some action.”
Trouble with broken glass at play areas and cases of groups of children “kicking doors in” around Layfield and Morley Carr were also heard by the chamber.
Cllr Sherris added: “It’s petty theft, taking things off people’s doorsteps and that sort of thing.
“There was a very sad situation where a house on Thirsk Road was egged – not just once or twice but a dozen times.
“There was a very elderly lady in there who was extremely traumatised so it does want nipping in the bud.”
He also asked the town council whether it could revisit looking at having CCTV and lighting on Willey Flats field.
Inspector Jon Willoughby, from Stockton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said they were aware of some issues with anti-social behaviour in Yarm over the last few weeks.
“These issues were largely reported during our Operation Autumnus which is when we historically see high demand in Cleveland around Halloween and half-term,” he added.
“The neighbourhood police team are working with our partners in Stockton Council Community Safety (team) to target those involved in the reported incidents.
“We’d like to reassure residents that Yarm is generally a low crime area and we will continue to monitor and focus our activity around preventing crime and antisocial behaviour as part of our neighbourhood priorities.
“We thank the public who have contacted us to report issues and urge people to continue to do so by calling 101 or reporting via our website. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Cllr Steve Nelson, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “The kind of incidents highlighted here – criminal damage and theft – are of course matters for the police and any such incidents should be reported directly to them.
“But we do always encourage residents to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour to our civic enforcement team and that certainly applies here. In terms of the numbers, Yarm has one of the lowest rates of anti-social behaviour in the borough and the vast majority relate to aggressive begging on the High Street.
“We are in the process of recruiting 12 new civic enforcement officers as part of plans to boost our enforcement presence and step up our response to aggressive begging and other forms of anti-social behaviour in our town centres, which will also free up officers to enhance the service we provide across the rest of the borough.”
Town councillors agreed to request an enforcement update at the next meeting in December.
Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter
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