Yobs gather at train waiting room

FELIXSTOWE railway station's waiting room is a magnet for vandalising yobs and litter louts.That was the verdict of Charles Taylor, the life president of the East Suffolk Travel Association (ESTA).

FELIXSTOWE railway station's waiting room is a magnet for vandalising yobs and litter louts.

That was the verdict of Charles Taylor, the life president of the East Suffolk Travel Association.

He said the shelter, which has a roof and see-through front panel, should never have been built because it just encourages 'yobbos' who have caused persistent vandalism and litter problems.

The criticism came after passengers were greeted with crisp packets, chocolate wrappers and other litter strewn across the waiting room at the weekend.


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He said: "It is a very sore point, the shelter. Vandals roam free and the shelter was built quite wrongly. It should not have had a top and it shouldn't have had a front. It is just a rendezvous for yobs in the evening.

"A large part of the rubbish does not come from passengers. I expect it is going to get worse. Short of having a patrol there all the time, I cannot see what other alternative there really is."

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Anglia Railways clean the platform two to three times a week but Mr Taylor did not think that was enough.

"For a few days it looks pretty passable and then it happens all over again."

He said he would like to see the damaged and dirty plastic see-through walls replaced by a wall made of breeze blocks similar to the old waiting area before the present one was built.

The old waiting room had been easy to maintain, said Mr Taylor, as the graffiti could simply be covered with paint and the smell of urine could be removed with a bucket of water and disinfectant.

He said: "They make it less comfortable but it would not be as attractive for yobbos."

As a canopy already protects the station from the elements. Mr Taylor said he did not see the need for a roof or a front which he believes encourages young people to loiter and use the shelter as a meeting place.

David Meads, from Anglia Railways, who are responsible for the up-keep of the waiting room, said: "The problem that we have is our cleaning team can come down one day and unfortunately people will then misuse it and create litter. We can only be there so many times on a weekly basis."

He said as the station was not manned, there are times when areas of the station can remain dirty for more than a day.

In addition the station's cleanliness is hampered by the department of transport's ruling that unmanned stations cannot have litter bins because of the threat of terrorism.

He added: "It is something we are pursuing. It pulls back to the whole issue that where we have stations that are unstaffed, it is difficult to provide any degree of control. We have to accept, unfortunately, that people do misuse facilities."

He said that any problems were normally followed up and that they reported criminal activity to the British Transport Police.

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