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South Shields families demand ‘death trap’ pub be pulled down

Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade
Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade

Residents living near a derelict pub described as a “death trap” are demanding it be pulled down after is has become a magnet for “feral” youngsters.

The Pickwick Arms, in Dickens Avenue, Biddick Hall, South Shields has lain empty for almost a decade but has now become a meeting place for young troublemakers.

Acting Inspector Steve Prested

Acting Inspector Steve Prested

On Wednesday, boards placed over doors and windows to keep out trespassers were ripped down by youngsters who had gathered at the building.

It was the last straw for residents who say they have been forced to put up with months of abuse and bad behaviour by children they could only describe as “feral.”

They are calling for the building to be pulled down before someone is seriously injured or killed.

Yesterday, council workers were clearing up rubbish and broken glass which had been left behind by the troublemakers while in neighbouring streets discarded leaflets that been strewn all over were being picked up.

We have been given names of those suspected to have been involved and we will be knocking on their doors.

Acting Inspector Steve Prested

Firefighters and police also made a visit to the area.

Around 20 names of those suspected to have been involved have since been passed to officers who will be knocking on doors to speak with parents to make them aware of the various actions that can be taken against them if their children’s behaviour doesn’t improve.

Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Steve Prested said: “This building is a dangerous place for anyone to be in and we want to see it pulled down like many of the residents living in the area.

“We have been given names of those suspected to have been involved and we will be knocking on their doors. If it’s the case their children have been involved, parents will be spoken to regarding their children’s behaviour and made fully aware of the consequences if it doesn’t improve.

A worker clears up at the former pub.

A worker clears up at the former pub.

“We have also been in touch with the building’s owners and as far as conversations go with them, their plans are to demolish the building. In the meantime we will be putting additional patrols in the area.

“We are very aware of the concerns of residents in relation to this building and we are taking those concerns extremely seriously.”

One resident who lives nearby and wished not to be named said: “This has been going on for months. They have turned the shops into a no go area for people who live around here.

“The place is an absolute death trap, not to mention a fire risk and needs to be pulled down before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.”

Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade

Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade

Another resident said: “The whole place needs pulling down - that’s what we want to see happen. There has been nothing but trouble here.”

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: “Our Community Wardens received an anonymous report of criminal damage on Wednesday evening and the caller was advised to contact the police. Since then we have received reports of anti-social behaviour in this particular area and are investigating this further.

“We understand the distress caused to local people as a result of the thoughtless and reckless behaviour of a small minority of young people. “If the youths involved are the children of council tenants then their behaviour can have implications for their tenancies and we will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action.

“Clean-up work is underway in the area and we have arranged for additional patrols to be carried out by our Community Wardens. We are in contact with the owner’s representative to make the premises secure.”

Incidents of anti-social behaviour can also be reported to the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (0191) 427 7000, text 07786 200 802, email asb@southtynesidehomes.org.uk or Report It online at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/reportit

Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade

Anti social behaviour The Pickwick Arms which has been derelict for more than a decade