Youth targeted in crime crackdown

TROUBLESOME youngsters will be targeted as part of a zero-tolerance crackdown to clean up the streets of a Suffolk town.

The pledge comes after three youths - two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old - were arrested following burglaries at the Leiston Children’s Centre in King Georges Avenue.

Police officers have now vowed to step up patrols in the town centre as part of a campaign against youth-related anti-social behaviour.

The Leiston and Aldeburgh Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) is warning troublemakers to expect a zero-tolerance approach on criminal damage, assault, burglary or drugs and alcohol offences.

The burglaries at the children’s centre happened between Friday, March 26 and Monday, March 29 and a 12-year-old girl and two boys, aged 12 and 13, have been bailed to return to Lowestoft Police Station on May 11 pending further enquiries.

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Sergeant Mark Beresford said: “The team and I are committed to tackling youth crime in Leiston.

“The town is currently experiencing problems with youths and I want to reassure the residents that we will not tolerate it.

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“From regular public consultation it is clear that many people suffer from the consequences of anti-social behaviour whether directly or indirectly.

“The SNT will always strive for long-term, sustainable solutions to community issues, but potential offenders should be warned that officers will be patrolling the town centre with a view to prosecute against all forms of anti-social behaviour.

“Nobody should feel unsafe in their home and Leiston is no exception.”

As part of their work officers have also started regular police surgeries twice a week at local schools to engage with pupils and staff.

It is hoped that by talking with youngsters and their families information will be obtained to help the SNT deal positively with any offenders.

The work is being carried out in partnership with Suffolk Coastal District Council, the Youth Offending Service, drug and alcohol group NORCAS and the Time To Change youth project.

“By working with partners we will be able to resolve the issue and ensure that everyone can enjoy the town centre at any time,” Sgt Beresford added.

Anyone with information about the burglaries or who has been offered property including an E43 emachine laptop or Cannon cameras is asked to contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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