Clampdown on troublesome youths
By Ted JeoryA CRACKDOWN has been launched on rowdy youths who have been drinking, fighting and creating mayhem in a town centre.Police said groups of alcohol-fuelled youngsters had been converging in Colchester on Friday and Saturday nights and causing problems for residents.
By Ted Jeory
A CRACKDOWN has been launched on rowdy youths who have been drinking, fighting and creating mayhem in a town centre.
Police said groups of alcohol-fuelled youngsters had been converging in Colchester on Friday and Saturday nights and causing problems for residents.
They added some of the youths were coming from as far afield as Ipswich and Sudbury to congregate in the town centre at night.
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Sgt Andy Simpson, of Colchester police, said: “There is a problem at the moment. These youngsters tend to be coming from Suffolk by train and then congregating in the town centre.
“We have seized drinks from them and on one occasion a youth from Suffolk was arrested on suspicion of theft.”
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Pc Nikki Gander, also of Colchester police, added: “They used to meet and stay in the parks, but with winter here, they're now coming into the town and causing trouble and having gang fights.
“A lot of them are coming from places like Ipswich and Sudbury and other places around those towns. They travel here and seem to have some sort of arrangement to meet up with other gangs.”
Under the clampdown, police have warned under-age youngsters that they will not tolerate any anti-social behaviour and will confiscate any alcohol found in their possession.
Officers also appealed to parents to accept more responsibility for the actions of their children and make sure they know where their youngsters are at night and what they are getting up to.
Pc Gander said youngsters often told their parents they were going to stay overnight with friends, but then ended up in Colchester, often fighting or lying in shop doorways too drunk to stand up.
“We then have to waste not only our time, but also vital resources at the hospital, where they carry on being a nuisance,” she added.
“About four weeks ago, a group getting on for about 100 ended up giving us the run-around for about an hour.”
Pc Gander said she had had to deal a fortnight ago with a 14-year-old girl who had been refused entry to an entertainment complex in Colchester and who had been found lying comatose outside.
“There was another time where a young girl who'd had an argument with her boyfriend and then she started hurling abuse at me,” she added.
“She'd hurt her head and I had to go with her in an ambulance. But she just screamed all the way to the hospital - and when we got there she carried on at the nurses and other patients in accident and emergency.”
Residents in Colchester's Dutch Quarter have suffered for years from people vomiting and urinating in doorways after pubs and clubs closed for the night.
Dimitri Murray, chairman of the Dutch Quarter Association, said: “The situation has been awful in the past, but we have had regular meetings with police and overall this seems to be working. A lot of it seems to be about educating the youngsters properly.”