March 11 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Police in Lowestoft are tackling anti-social behaviour in the Britten Centre after receiving reports of damage being caused in the area by gangs of young people.
Over the past few months young people, some as young as 10, have been gathering at the shopping centre in London Road North in large numbers in the late afternoons and evenings after the shops there have closed.
Police say a number of issues have been raised by businesses and residents walking through the centre including incidents of criminal damage and skateboarders using the walls and windows sills to practice on.
Incidents include damage being caused to lights, a glass door being smashed and a wire protective mesh being removed from a stairwell and thrown onto a roof.
In an effort to tackle the problem police say officers will be giving the area “regular attention” over the next few weeks in a bid to cut the number of incidents by making arrests or talking to parents of young people stopped by officers.
And police say the centre could even be gated off to try and solve the problem.
PCSO Michael Soanes, of the Lowestoft North Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Sometimes the young people gathering number 30 to 40 and, while we appreciate that they want to meet their friends, their behaviour sometimes causes issues for other members of the public using the area and local businesses.
“We have received a number of calls over the past few months about anti-social behaviour including bikes being ridden, screaming and shouting late into the evening, young people being thrown out of premises in the town centre because of their behaviour and damage being caused.
“Businesses in the Britten Centre, which is privately owned, have expressed concern and we clearly have to deal with the issue.
“We will be speaking to the young people involved, as well as taking action if offences are disclosed, and moving them on but if this doesn’t work then other options, including gating the centre off at night, will be explored even though we know this will not be popular.”
Police say they will deal with anyone found to be causing damage, acting in an anti-social way or caught smoking or drinking underage, by making arrests or taking young people’s names and then talking to their parents.
Officers are also asking parents to be aware of where their sons and daughters are after police spoke to children as young as 10 in the area around 10pm at night.