It ASBO be a teen crime blitz in resort

TEENAGE tearaways who cause mayhem in Suffolk's premier resort could be taken off the streets in a new type of crime-fighting blitz, which has been pioneered elsewhere in the county.

TEENAGE tearaways who cause mayhem in Suffolk's premier resort could be taken off the streets in a new type of crime-fighting blitz, which has been pioneered elsewhere in the county.

Police in Felixstowe are looking to use anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) against a handful of youths - which could stop virtually all the resort's nuisance crime and disorder, police said today.

For the first time the town's police officers are to seek Anti-Social Behaviour Orders – and will be imposing zero tolerance as well as asking the courts to back them in giving full publicity to those they target.

Today the Evening Star names and shames Ipswich teen Thomas Crowley, a who has broken the terms of his order, after making a successful application in court.

The Star vows to do the same for any youth who may hide behind anonymity granted them by law.

Although ASBOs can be handed out to anyone who causes a nuisance, regardless of age, officers in Felixstowe say they are gathering evidence on five to nine individuals aged from 15 to early 20s.

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They are responsible for rowdy behaviour, vandalism and other incidents which cause havoc in Felixstowe, especially on the seafront.

Sgt Mick Richardson, in charge of the ASBO project, said: "A small number of people are responsible for a significant amount of the public nuisance problems we have in Felixstowe.

"A number of these problems may seem small but for the residents who have to put up with them constantly they are very important and a sore point.

"We are talking about the Friday night and Saturday night offences.

"The people who are coming out of the nightclubs, gathering around a takeaway at 2am, breaking off car aerials and wing mirrors, smashing fences, knocking over bins, causing noise and fighting as they make their way home. That's what we want to curb.

"We have seen how ASBOs have been used to good effect in Ipswich and now we will be working with Suffolk Coastal council to extend this to Felixstowe.

"These people will know that the only way to avoid an ASBO is to behave – or face the penalty. They know who they are and we know who they are.

"These people cause damage and mayhem and will be dealt with and will find patience has run out. Our operation will have a very low tolerance."

Sgt Richardson said the courts would be asked to give maximum publicity to any orders made and for the Evening Star to be allowed to name and shame.

Officers have already drawn up a short-list of those they will be targeting based on previous behaviour and problems at the resort.

"We have a list and the community police officer team is already gathering information and evidence – there are certain youngsters we will be watching very closely," he said.

"Officers will keep a record of what these individuals do and what they are involved in, even if there are no powers to arrest for a particular incident."

The courts have the powers to sentence those in breach of ASBOs, which impose stringent restrictions on a person's movements, not only for the breach but also any outstanding offences – and can impose up to five year's detention.

n What do you think – do you back the police in getting to grips with youth crime? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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