'We don't want them here' - Work continues to make Maple Park safer

Alasdair Ross, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for community protection and Maple Park

Alasdair Ross gave an update on safety works around Maple Park following the sentencing of two J Block gang members. - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council/Rachel Edge

Further safety measures will be installed in the coming weeks around a community blighted by gang and drug related incidents as part of the town's crackdown. 

On Friday, two members of the J-Block gang, from the Jubliee Park area of west Ipswich, were sentenced for a total of 19 years. 

Wayne Scullion and Arnoldas Miglinas were involved in the organised “substantial” supply of class A drugs for just over a year.

At Ipswich Crown Court on Friday, Oliver Haswell, described J Block as an organised gang involved in the supply of drugs and described Scullion as playing a leading role in the operation and Miglinas as a “trusted lieutenant". 

Ipswich gang members Arnoldas Miglinas and Wayne Scullion have been jailed

Ipswich gang members Arnoldas Miglinas and Wayne Scullion have been jailed for drug offences in the Maple Park area. - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Alasdair Ross, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for community protection, welcomed the sentence and set how work continued to make residents living in the Maple Park area feel safer. 

In June, the council secured a grant of almost half-a-million pounds to improve safety with some of the funding allocated to install CCTV. 

Cllr Ross said the new CCTV will act as a speaker which can be used to break up anti-social activity as it happens. 

Councillor Alasdair Ross, portfolio holder for community protection said the powers had been effecti

Cllr Alasdair Ross, Ipswich Borough Council portfolio holder for community protection. - Credit: Archant

"It's super effective," he said. 

The town's proximity to London made it a target along with other towns within 80 miles of the capital. 

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He said the borough and the leaders of Suffolk had reacted to ideas not seen before and that he wanted gangs to know Ipswich was a harder place to carry out such activities. 

He said: "There are many reasons it has become the place it has and we need to sort it out.

"What the police has done is arresting people and fortunately, the courts are taking it very seriously and giving them these sorts of sentences.  What is obvious is in the last two years the plan and the approach by the police, county council and borough council is reducing the number of county lines in Ipswich. 

"We can't rest on our laurels."

Since securing the Safer Streets Funding, the council has focused on improving securities in flat blocks, outreach programmes for the community and young people and soon to be installed CCTV. 

Cllr Ross said: "The Maple Park area is not full of bad people.

"Those recently arrested one of them lived in Station Street and the other Fore Street, they did not live in the area. Previous members of that gang jailed for the tragic murder of Tavis [Spencer Atkins] many were not residents in the area of Maple Park. 

"It's become somewhere they think of dealing or meeting.

"All these sorts of things that aren't big but when you add that up it makes it a lot safer. "

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