Kesgrave Town Council suspends Thursday youth club after string of anti-social behaviour incidents

Kesgrave Town Council. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Kesgrave Town Council. Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Organisers of a weekly youth club in Kesgrave have been forced to suspend their sessions for teenagers after a string of anti-social behaviour incidents culminated in a fire.

Kesgrave town councillors reported that concerns had been raised over anti-social behaviour caused by some individuals in the Thursday evening groups for those aged 13 and above at the Millennium Jubilee Hall.

After a series of anti-social incidents which the council said were “occurring frequently,” the final straw came on February 2 when a fire was deliberately started in the toilets.

A Kesgrave Town Council spokeswoman said: “Councillors are gravely concerned about some of the protracted anti-social behaviour which has been occurring frequently on Thursday evenings at the town council’s youth club.

“They are particularly concerned about the most recent issue which occurred on the February 2 with a deliberate fire which was set off inside the building in the gents toilets, which potentially could have resulted in a serious injury/injuries or endangering of life.”

The club has now been suspended until after Easter, where a full review would be taking place over its viability.

The Tuesday youth club for those aged below 13 has suffered no issues and will continue as normal.

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The spokeswoman added: “The town council greatly regrets that it has been forced to close its youth club on Thursday evenings for older youth from now until after at least after Easter 2017, where a full review and restructure of the youth club will be taking place.

“The town council asks that local parents, youth and Kesgrave High School work closely with the council and the town clerk regarding these issues. It is the normal story of a few spoiling things for the majority.”

Mike Sarbutts, match-funded PCSO for Kesgrave and Rushmere St Andrew, said: “Police were made aware of incidents of antisocial behaviour at the Kesgrave Youth Club after the decision was made by the council to close it.

“Since then we have liaised with the club and the council and, following enquiries, we have identified several youths involved in incidents of antisocial behaviour.

“We are working with the youth offending team to install long-term solution initiatives against similar offences, and we will conduct patrols in the area to improve monitoring of the situation.

“Dealing with antisocial behaviour is a partnership approach. Working with partners such as youth workers, the local authority, housing and social services, we are focused on finding ways to deter and disrupt the antisocial behaviour in these areas whilst supporting the young people as appropriate.”