Unruly youths banned from Longridge centre

Ribble Valley Inspector Paul Goodall
Ribble Valley Inspector Paul Goodall
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Teenage troublemakers were banned from the centre of Longridge at the weekend after police took a tougher stance against anti-social behaviour and brought in a dispersal order.

Ribble Valley Inspector Paul Goodall said they had been forced to take such action as a certain group of young people “were not for listening”.

Youths have been plagueing the town for a long time and on Friday a senior officer fianlly gave the go-ahead for a 48 hour dispersal order to be put in place, allowing officers or PCSOs to issue anyone caught committing juvenile nuisance or being suspected of it, with notices asking them to leave the area.

The dispersal order lasted from 7pm Friday to 7pm Sunday, covering the triangular area of town between and including Berry Lane, Derby Road and Kestor Lane.

Insp Goodall said the clampdown followed complaints from residents and the weekend saw extra police officers being drafted into town, including the mounted section, to assist the operation.

Twelve young people aged from 12 to 16 were issued with notices and if a person then breaks the conditions, it becomes an offence and they can then be arrested.

Insp Goodall said: “We have been working for some time to try and resolve the complaints from residents about the behaviour of certain young people. We are fully supportive of the community who have informed us on numerous occasions they have had enough of anti-social behaviour in Longridge. We have been working with the local schools and other partners in order to find some solutions and engage with the young people in a positive way in order to try and show them an alternative path.

“However, some are not for listening and this has necessitated in our actions at the weekend.”

Insp Goodall said they would continue with this course of action “in order to bring some peace and respite to residents and businesses” and said officers would be following up with regard to the individuals who were issued with notices.

As the dispersal order came to an end on Sunday night, he said some youths returned “to just outside the identified area” and police received another call regarding youth nuisance.

“I would like to point out to these young people and their parents that this is not a game,” said Insp Goodall. “We have a finite resource and using police officers in this way means that other parts of our police business suffer.

“So I would implore parents and guardians to help us and be more inquisitive about what your son/daughter is up to in the evenings.”

Insp Goodall believed it had been a successful police operation and said the public with whom they had interacted had been “very supportive”.

He added: “I intend to continue with this robust course of action which, as always, is aimed at the actions of few.”

In recent weeks youths had been reported as climbing on scaffolding and onto roofs; throwing objects at and causing other probelms at the flats at the old Co-op; throwing eggs at motorists and cans at police; chucking dog muck into gardens; causing problems at the sports and social club, Towneley Gardens and the Co-op on Berry Lane and generally misbehaving and frightening residents in large groups.

Young people are also suspected to be behind the arson attack at the Berry Lane toilets last summer, when Longridge Town Council said “enough is enough” and Insp Paul Goodall attended a meeting of the council.