Police to disperse lake vandals

POLICE will consider applying for a dispersal order to tackle vandals at a Needham Market tourist spot if current problems continue, The Evening Star has learned.

POLICE will consider applying for a dispersal order to tackle vandals at a Needham Market tourist spot if current problems continue, The Evening Star has learned.

Groups of problem youths have been causing bother at Needham Lake by breaking into the storage shed, vandalising picnic tables, ripping up signs and defacing the area with graffiti.

It is claimed they have even put children's lives at risk after an incident saw a picnic table placed on top of a climbing frame and four tables stacked on top of each other.

Mid Suffolk District Council is closing parts of the lake in the evenings in an attempt to curb the problem.

Chief Inspector Paul Sharp, district commander for Mid Suffolk, said police were working to solve the issue but would consider further action if necessary.

He said: “We have a range of options open to us to deal with these kind of matters such as the use of acceptable behaviour contracts, anti social behaviour orders and fixed penalty tickets.

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“Dispersal orders are something we would consider.

“We review and evaluate on an ongoing basis and would need to discuss with our partners.

“Ideally we don't want that particular venue to be closed for law-abiding members of the public.”

Dispersal orders give police the power to disperse groups of young people from a certain area and forcibly take under-16s home.

The powers, which have been available since January 2004, enable a senior police officer to designate an area where there is persistent anti-social behaviour and a problem with groups causing intimidation.

The local authority must also agree to the designation, usually this decision will be made as part of the strategic work of a Crime and Disorder Partnership.

For the past month the car park has been closed between 7pm and 7am in order to prevent the youths gaining access.

Weblink:

www.suffolk.police.org

www.midsuffolk.gov.uk

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