Anger at yob culture in parts of Clacton
AN ESSEX finance director spoke last night of her shock after she was hit by a barrage of liquid balloons – some filled with urine.Jane Hanvey, assistant director of finance at Tendring Primary Care Trust, was speaking after the latest move to bring an end to the yob culture in parts of Clacton.
AN ESSEX finance director spoke last night of her shock after she was hit by a barrage of liquid balloons – some filled with urine.
Jane Hanvey, assistant director of finance at Tendring Primary Care Trust, was speaking after the latest move to bring an end to the yob culture in parts of Clacton.
Allegations include persistent vandalism, assaults on staff and drug abuse on the premises, the trust has this week banned skateboarding near its Carnarvon Road headquarters.
Claiming up to 20 youths had started fires, throwing concrete blocks and pelting staff with eggs, the trust's chief executive, Paul Unsworth, said he would no longer tolerate the "antisocial behaviour".
He said: "We have tried to be reasonable, but we have a duty of care towards our staff and we need to protect our working environment – we've now put up signs and installed security cameras."
He added: "The drug connection is particularly worrying. Parents need to be aware that their children are exposed to far greater dangers than just trespassing on our property."
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Mrs Hanvey described how she was working in her open-windowed office overlooking the skateboarders when balloons were thrown.
She said: "I heard a loud thud against the glass then felt liquid hit me. Colleagues on the floors above had been watching the youths and had seen them filling the balloons with urine.
"I was shocked – I didn't know whether I'd been hit by one of them. I've never worked in an office where you experience this kind of intimidation."
A spokesman for the primary care trust said the teenagers were deliberately intimidating, and added they leaned against the office's doors blocking people's exits and shouted abuse as staff left.
The trust becomes the third public body in the area to ban skateboarders after
notices and CCTV cameras went up at the town hall and library to ward them away from their steps and disabled ramps, which the youths use for stunts.
A Tendring District Council spokesman said: "The skateboarders were not only damaging the steps outside the town hall, but were also a potential hazard to passers-by. They were a nuisance, so we politely asked them to move, then had to call the police and when that didn't work we put up a sign threatening prosecution and a £500 fine if they continued."
Tendring district councillor Pierre Oxley said he had sympathy for the skateboarders.
He said: "I'm not a great fan of moving them on. If there's nowhere for them to play, then they are going to go to places like that and we'll get these issues."
He said the new £150,000 skateboard and graffiti park on the former children's play area at Clacton leisure centre would open at the end of July and come as "fantastic news" for the teenagers.
n Pierre Oxley (Conservative) is standing for election this May in the St Paul's ward. Also standing are: David Gamman (Lab), Christine Jarvis (Lib Dem), Catherine Jessop (Con), Sylvia Smith (Lib Dem) and Brian White (Ind).