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.

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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.

7 comments

  • I am a skateboarder who regularly uses the britten centre to skate in while its wet and and windy outside, the problem is not with the skaters as we are as a collective group a freindly, well mannered and polite bunch of people. We may cause some damage to the flooring and we may irrtate some people but bot on purpose. The real problem is with the younger more troublsome group of CHILDREN who terrorise the pedestrians walking through the shopping facility, thereshould be a 5 day a week youth club for these children to go. And the council should maybe try and invest in something useful and build floodlighting at the normanston park to keep us skaters off the street.

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    Jimmy Mcevilley

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • So the police are considering gating off the Britten Centre, and suggesting it might be unpopular. It would also be illegal, there is a public right of way through our lack-lustre, minimal shopping mall. The developers knew that when they took it on, perhaps they should employ a security company. That said, where should our young go in the evenings?

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    peter waller

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

  • I've walked through the britten centre a few times whilst they've been there and whilst I was initially intimidated, the skaters have never caused any trouble. Ok a lot of litter and some bins being used as things to jump over but nowhere near what this article makes it out to be. It is more anti-youth propaganda and instead of trying to think upoffer alternatives like late opening youth clubs, they're just gonna whack them with arrests and tell the parents who obviously don't really care much in the first place. The so-called 'gangs' that do cause trouble are not the skateboarders but the 'chavs' as some might call them, some that look about 8, hanging with older friends and trying to act tough in front of them. For example I was heckled for not being able to provide a lighter. What I have witnessed from the skaters is simply going up and down, trying floor tricks, or just sitting on the benchesfloor talking. It infuriates me when 'young people' are vilified like this instead of trying to think about why they're resorting to that in the first place!

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    Jess Titmus

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

  • Peter Walter - Id have public right of way to sit outside on the pavement of your house every evening if I wanted, but im sure if I was there every evening, with 20 friends, making a lot of noise that you would get annoyed. Where can kids go at night? Simple... HOME, like normal people. They aren't homeless. Just immature.

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    Gareth Leer

    Friday, February 14, 2014

  • I sincerely doubt if "talking to parents" will do a whit of good. The sort of parents who let their kids run wild won't care if a nice policeman comes by and says stern words. Now if you can FINE the parents for damages and neglect, that might change some behavior.

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    A. Taylor

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

  • There are lights...there are cameras...so how about some action?

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  • I've walked through the britten centre a few times whilst they've been there and whilst I was initially intimidated, the skaters have never caused any trouble. Ok a lot of litter and some bins being used as things to jump over but nowhere near what this article makes it out to be. It is more anti-youth propaganda and instead of trying to think upoffer alternatives like late opening youth clubs, they're just gonna whack them with arrests and tell the parents who obviously don't really care much in the first place. The so-called 'gangs' that do cause trouble are not the skateboarders but the 'chavs' as some might call them, some that look about 8, hanging with older friends and trying to act tough in front of them. For example I was heckled for not being able to provide a lighter. What I have witnessed from the skaters is simply going up and down, trying floor tricks, or just sitting on the benchesfloor talking. It infuriates me when 'young people' are vilified like this instead of trying to think about why they're resorting to that in the first place!

    Report this comment

    Jess Titmus

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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