Bid to curb anti-social bevaviour in Ottery St Mary

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 September 2008 | UPDATED: 11:06 17 June 2010

AS CONCERNS over anti-social behaviour and vandalism in Ottery St Mary grow, the Town Council and police are to step up efforts curb the trend.

AS CONCERNS over anti-social behaviour and vandalism in Ottery St Mary grow, the Town Council and police are to step up efforts curb the trend.

Over the course of two meetings held this week and last month, town officials voiced worries over problems which include:

- Underage drinking.

- Litter and Anti-social behaviour in the Land of Canaan

- Boy racers doing wheelies and causing disturbance to residents.

- Youths congregating in the Hind Street car park.

Police had to disperse a "large group of boy racers" in Canaan Way in the early hours of Saturday morning. The problematic area is one that councillors and police are keen to tackle.

County Councillor Roger Giles said: "Cllr David Cox and I and the town council are striving to do what we can to resolve problems, with specific actions such as asking for the lights at the Land of Canaan to be turned off at 11pm, and seeking some design changes at the Canaan car park to deter boy racers, as well as considering the installation of CCTV."

Discussions over the installation of CCTV in the town are ongoing with potential costs predicted to be in the region of £25,000. Mayor Glyn Dobson said: ""To raise that kind of money would be very difficult."

Underage drinking was flagged up as a major contributor to problems in the town.

Cllr Paul Lewis said: "The attitude we have got is kids saying lets go out and get plastered on a Saturday night. It's very disconcerting for me to see kids with drink in copious quantities."

Councillors were in agreement however that youths causing problems were in the minority and that recent the outstanding exam results at The King's School were to the credit of the town's youngsters.

Confusion surrounds an alcohol ban at the Land of Canaan, put in place to "deal with incidents of alcohol-related anti-social behaviour problems", however legislation attached to it has hindered police enforcement. Officers do have the power to seize alcohol from underage drinkers and the "potential" to confiscate alcohol if there is a likelihood of anti-social behaviour taking place.

PC Phil Thomas said: "The local Police are keen to gather information about such behaviour in order to work with partner agencies and tackle problems which arise.

I would encourage the Public to contact us so that we can assess the scale of any problems and deal accordingly."

Police can be contacted on 08452 777444 or my e-mailed at Philip.THOMAS@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk.

Mr Giles added: "The public has a part to play in this by reporting all crimes promptly to the police.


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