A crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the run-up to Bonfire Night has been re-launched.
Fire, police and council chiefs have once again joined forces to run the Darker Nights campaign.
The initiative - first launched in 2007 - aims to tackle problems that peak around this time of year including unauthorised bonfires, underage firework sales and criminal damage.
The campaign will run from October 23 to November 8.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We appreciate that many young people look forward to the traditional festivals at this time of year but we need to recognise that this can also be an unsettling for some older people and those who live alone.
“By taking a proactive approach with our partners we can encourage responsible and considerate behaviour for all members of our communities.”
Chief Inspector Sarah Pitt, Southern Area Command, said: “We want people to be enjoy a safe Bonfire Night. This means we’re encouraging people to go along to an organised display.
“We’re also working with our partners to tackle the problem of unauthorised bonfires, underage fireworks sales and anti-social behaviour.
“We want to remind people that any illegal bonfires will be removed. Not only is it against the law, they also pose a safety risk to the general public, homes, businesses and vehicles. “We will have officers on patrol in the run up to Bonfire Night and during the night itself to minimise any crime and disorder and make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable time for everyone.”
In the weeks running up to Bonfire Night, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service will also be visiting secondary schools in South Tyneside to talk to children and young people about bonfire-related anti-social behaviour including the dangers relating to the misuse of bonfires and fireworks.
District Manager for South Tyneside, Bill Forster, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The bonfire period is one of the busiest for emergency services, so we are pleased to support the campaign again this year. We would encourage everyone to attend an organised display to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable bonfire night.”
As part of the campaign, a range of activities will also be organised for young people to keep them entertained and off the streets. A free outdoor five-a-side football tournament, aimed at 11 – 14 year-olds and 15 – 19-year-olds, will be held at Clegwell Community Association on October 30 between 7pm and 9pm. There will be another free outdoor five-a-side football tournament for the same age groups at Temple Park Leisure Centre on November 6 between 7pm and 9pm.
To book a place, contact Contact Chris Thompson at: email@example.com or call (0191) 424 7845.
There will also be a free climb and BBQ at Simonside Climbing Wall on November 3 between 5.30pm and 9.30pm for young people aged five and over. There is no need to book, but anyone interested should contact Simonside Outdoor Adventure on: 424 0118 or visit www.simonsideoutdooradventure.co.uk for further information.
For further information about the activities on offer call Alex D’Ambrosie in the Council’s Services for Young People Team on (0191) 424 6341 or visit the Council’s website at www.southtyneside.info
Dismantling and removing unauthorised bonfires in the run up to Bonfire Night is one of the most effective preventative measures adopted by partners in recent years.
South Tyneside Homes’ estate officers will be reminding tenants of their responsibilities as well as keeping a close eye on residential areas and reporting any illegal bonfires or collections of combustible materials they come across. The Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team will also be joining the Community Wardens and the Police in high visibility patrols in hotspot areas.
Abandoned waste or illegal bonfires can be reported by contacting South Tyneside Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Incidents of illegal or underage sales of fireworks or alcohol can be reported by calling the freephone hotline 0800 935 878 or text UNDERAGE followed by the details to 07786 200 802.