Youngsters cause seafront problems

A GROUP of 15 to 20 "nasty little tinkers" are responsible for the majority of damage, noise and general nuisance on Felixstowe's seafront.Police are targeting the group of youngsters in a zero tolerance crackdown to reduce the trouble inflicted on businesses and residents in the town.

A GROUP of 15 to 20 "nasty little tinkers" are responsible for the majority of damage, noise and general nuisance on Felixstowe's seafront.

Police are targeting the group of youngsters in a zero tolerance crackdown to reduce the trouble inflicted on businesses and residents in the town.

A campaign to make off-licences more aware of underage drinkers, a youth nuisance register and an increase in foot and air patrols has meant that anti social problems are being reduced.

Felixstowe police commander Insp Andy Bushell said: "It has had an effect because we have been able to establish 15 or 20 youths all between the age of 14 and 18 who have been a bloody nuisance and we have been targeting these particular individuals. We have been dealing with them positively, we are arresting them. The vast majority are now going through the court system."

He added: "We have some nasty little tinkers that are persistent offenders."

Youths creating noise, damage or being generally disrespectful are being targeted by police in their zero tolerance crackdown.

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This has also meant that someone committing a minor offence such as urinating in the street would be automatically reported. In addition if a youth was creating a nuisance the police would arrest them and take them home to their parents.

There have been 303 occasions where youngsters have been approached by police officers and spoken to about their behaviour since the scheme began. The serious and persistent offenders have been put on a youth nuisance register and letters have been sent to their homes so that their parents are aware of what their child is doing at night.

"If we can catch the youngsters that are causing damage we can divert them from causing serious offences," said Insp Bushell.

So far 95 letters have been sent to parents about their child's conduct and where necessary officers have discussed the child's behaviour with the parents to try and deter the youngsters from creating a nuisance in the future.

Other tactics to reduce youth nuisance and crime includes the Squash It campaign. Many of the crimes and problems caused by these youths such as burglaries and arson attacks have been alcohol-fuelled and so the police introduced the Squash It campaign to make off-licences more aware of underaged customers attempting to buy alcohol.

The police are also using other agencies such as the 94 neighbourhood watch schemes which has a network covering 33 per cent of Felixstowe where 6,000 to 7,000 people are involved. Those residents are acting as the eyes and ears for the police to provide more information so that problems can be tackled more effectively.

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