A total of 18 teenagers have been stopped by police in a crackdown on bad behaviour which is making the lives of pensioners a misery on a South Tyneside estate.
Offices have stepped up patrols and dispersal orders are being put in place at The Lonnen area of South Shields after complaints of wheelie bins being stolen, fires being started and rowdy behaviour.
Already, 18 teenagers have been stopped by officers who took to the streets of Cleadon Park as a move to combat the issue.
The move comes after residents say they are “nervous” and “fearful” of large groups of youths making their way into the park on a night. Wheelie bins and rubbish fires have also been reported.
As well as patrols being stepped up, a mobile youth bus has also been parking up in the area to give teenagers an alternative place to go, play on computer games and find out more about other activities in the area they can take part in.
Neighbourhood Sergeant for the area Julie Beattie said: “What we are trying to do to combat this is firstly try and identify these youths, to engage with them and to discuss alternative places for them to go. If they do want to go to the rec to approach it quietly and to be respectful to the residents.
“We don’t have an issue with the young people coming to the park. the issue we have is the setting of fires and stealing of wheelie bins.”Sgt Julie Beattie
“We have also had the mobile youth bus down so they can use their time more constructively and we have also had our police cadets down to talk with young people to try and get them involved in more constructive activities like the youth club and even our police cadets.
“We’ve increased our patrols and also introduced dispersal orders. We’ve currently stopped 18 young people and are working with the anti-social behaviour unit where we carry out follow up visits to their parents to inform them of what they are getting up to.
Sgt Beattie added: “We don’t have an issue with the young people coming to the park. The issue we have is the setting of fires and stealing of wheelie bins.
“The residents have told us they are very nervous, they really do feel very fearful when they see large groups of youths walking along the street.
“We are talking to residents to reassure them that we are taking this matter very seriously and if we do capture anyone stealing a wheelie bin or setting fires we will take positive action.”
Coun Alex Donaldson, for Cleadon Park, said: “We recognise the distress caused to local people - in particular our older residents - as a result of thoughtless and reckless behaviour of a minority of young people.
“We take these acts of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously and are working closely with the police on this issue.
“We have already taken the youth bus to Cleadon Park to help us engage with young people and encourage them into more constructive activities. The bus, staffed by experienced youth workers, has proven to be a highly effective tool in signposting young people to other, more long term activities, at nearby community centres.”
Police can be contacted on 101.