Bid to tackle drug use and anti social behaviour around Ipswich Waterfront

Lighting up the wine rack could help improve safety at the Waterfront - Peter Beard

Lighting up the wine rack could help improve safety at the Waterfront - Peter Beard - Credit:

Efforts to clear up an anti-social behaviour hotspot in Ipswich have been given staunch backing by a ward councillor.

Elizabeth Harsant, who represents Holywells, said seeing drug litter, street drinkers and other criminal activity in St Clement’s churchyard and the surrounding area is “very depressing” – but thinks a new council crackdown will “help enormously”.

Council officers cut back foliage both in the churchyard and near Fore Street swimming pool last week to deter anti-social behaviour and make the area safer.

Suffolk police officers led an operation to tackle criminal activity, while outreach teams engaged with homeless people and rough sleepers.

Ms Harsant said: “In my personal view it is very depressing seeing levels of criminal activity and drug taking in this area increase.

“It’s quite scary walking down there alone at night and it is easy to feel vulnerable.”

She added: “Something needed to be done about the foilage in the churchyard as it’s become a hiding place for street drinkers, so I am glad it has been cut back.”

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Efforts to improve come as the area, close to the town’s Waterfront, has seen the amount of discarded sharps and other drug litter in the area – as well as street drinkers – increase in recent weeks.

“A few of my residents have been in touch to raise concerns and I’ve spoken to the owner of the Wine Rack who said he will be putting some lights up underneath to make people feel safe at night,” said Ms Harsant.

“I am also glad something is being done to help the homeless people sleeping in the area. I think this operation will help enormously.”

Alasdair Ross is the borough council’s Safer Ipswich portfolio-holder.

He said: “We took part in this operation with the police in a bid to stamp out anti-social behaviour but also to try to help some of the people who are sleeping rough and who have drug and alcohol addiction problems.”