Footage shows violent alcohol-fuelled brawl breaking out in Wisbech church gardens
- Credit: Archant
On the day a petition calling for a ban on street drinking in Wisbech topped 2,000 signatures, a video has captured a violent argument fuelled by alcohol in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul Church.
Dainius Nevardauskas filmed the fracas on Thursday while out with friends – and after posting it to Facebook was shared numerous times and received hundreds of 'likes'.
Dainius, had no idea what caused the outbreak of fighting but one eye witness described it as a 'disgrace'.
She wrote that she had 'just witnessed for myself the disgrace in the church gardens. I walked into five grown adults' drunk and drinking, with around 10 to a dozen children and teenagers all fighting and shouting.
'What a disgrace – I had no idea how bad it was in the town and I'm very pleased I signed the petition. Something has to be done.'
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Fenland Council says there is 'no quick fix' to solving the problem of street drinking and disorder but said they were making headway to provide support to street drinkers and to the community.
Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: 'We do acknowledge there is a lot of community concern about street drinking in Wisbech.
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'We have been working really hard with partners over the last 18 months to put proactive measures in place to ensure people are able to feel safe and enjoy Wisbech.'
Cllr Oliver, until earlier this year also leader of Wisbech Town Council, will be presenting a report on the recent Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to cabinet on September 14. The council believes it will form part of a wider action plan to continue to help to tackle the issue.
Jamie Cook, who organised the petition and who has been given five minutes at the next council meeting to present it, said many councillors had been 'very supportive'.
He said 'Some councillors are asking the people in their wards for their feedback ahead of the debate that will follow on September 14.
'So rest assured, however you feel, your views will be represented. I have said this many times but I will reaffirm, this petition is not to attack councillors. We want to work with everyone together as a team for the best outcome for the town.
He added: 'This, as it has been suggested, is not a campaign that in anyway endorses any kind of racist or discriminatory behaviour. There's no place for that in the town or indeed in our country at all.'
Another resident who saw the incident filmed by Dainius said: 'These people and others have been in the church gardens all day drinking and urinating wherever.
'The PCSO had visited them earlier but nothing was really done and they continued as normal.
'This is what it is like most days now and the pathway through the church gardens is becoming a no go area.'
One other resident posted to Facebook that the video 'just goes to show that we want and need a drinking ban across the town.
'Also we want OUR police presence in the town permanently .To Wisbech Town Council and Fenland Council as well as the police this is your wake up call because if you don't act now some people are going to get egg on their faces
'Wisbech residents are sick to the back teeth.'
A district council spokesman said 'proactive steps' had been taken over the issue of street drinking through the work over the past 18 months undertaken by the community safety partnership and health and well being partnership.
He said recent success has included a successful bid to Government to become a local alcohol action area, one of only 33 locations in the country. This will help reduce sales of alcohol to people who are drunk and reduce wider alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
He said: 'We are currently collating feedback on a recent consultation for the proposal to create Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to ban alcohol consumption in specific areas suffering from alcohol misuse.
'We are really pleased with the response from the community.'