Saturday, 15 September 2007

KIDDERMINSTER: Anti-social youths targeted

Anti-social youths targeted

POLICE have warned Kidderminster youths they are cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

Officers have increased patrols on Marlpool estate, where youths are again starting to gather outside the Willowfield Drive shops.

Local policing officer, PC Paul Noke, said: "This was a problem earlier this year, with groups of youths hanging around the shops at night, and after concerted efforts by police and community support officers, including a dispersal order, matters improved greatly.

"However, in recent weeks, residents have started to complain again about youths gathering outside the shops and we are stepping up patrols."

PC Noke said the Esso petrol station in Franche had also become a magnet for teenagers, who were smoking on the forecourt, turning on taps, banging on windows and generally being silly.

Esso has issued five youths with letters warning they are trespassing and that if they continue, it will consider taking civil action against them.

PC Noke said: "The police fully support Esso's stance and we are working with it to tackle the issues being experienced. If the problems continue, public order charges could be considered."

He added that as well as the shops and the service station, Baxter College was experiencing problems with youths returning to the site during the evenings.

He issued a reminder that youths had no right to be on school premises after hours unless they were participating in an organised event.

PC Noke said: "We're not trying to be killjoys. We do understand that young people like to meet up with their friends in the evenings and we also appreciate that although Kidderminster is well served by sports centres, youth clubs and fast food restaurants, there are not a lot of places where under-18s can go.

"However, shops, petrol stations and school grounds are not appropriate places to gather. It inevitably leads to anti-social behaviour and staff, customers and local residents find it intimidating.

"We would like to remind parents that it is their responsibility to know where their children are, who they are with and what they are up to in the evenings."

PC Noke added police were also taking action against youngsters riding mopeds around Marlpool and Franche.

The Police Reform Act 2002 give offices the power to seize motor vehicles that are being used in a manner likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.

Five Section 59s - formal warnings which enable the police to seize vehicles if they continue to cause nuisance - have been handed out in the area.

PC Noke added that mopeds, off road bikes and mini motos were often ridden illegally by young people who were underage, did not have the necessary licence, tax or insurance, and were not aware of the legislation relating to them.

He also urged parents not to buy the machines for their children because there were few places where they could be ridden legally.

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