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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Crackdown on yobs by Cumbria police welcomed

Tough action to tackle rowdy yobs gathering in Workington has been welcomed by those whose lives have been made a misery.

Related: Cumbria police to crackdown on anti-social yobs

But not everybody supports the decision made by police which will see a dispersal order introduced in the St Michael’s area of the town in a week’s time.

Officers will have powers to move on groups of two or more youths for the next three months after the force was bombarded with complaints from residents about the behaviour of these youngsters.

Residents have reported troublemakers crawling across their roofs, having violent fights on their doorsteps and even shouting abuse at people attending the nearby church.

Lynne Oxberry, 34, said: “There’s always kids drinking in the park which is near to my house.

“The other night there were two girls, about 16 years old, tearing lumps out of each other. They were screaming like raving lunatics and there was a crowd around them, watching the fight.”

The areas which have been worst affected by the trouble are St Michael’s Church, Dora Crescent, Dean Street and Fisher Street.

A couple who live at Rosebank Court in Workington said that they have witnessed groups of teenagers – aged about 14 – climbing on the roofs of the bungalows on their street.

“I think it’s very good that the police are tackling the problem,” one of them said. “It is intimidating when gangs are around.”

The couple were so intimidated by the actions of these youths that they wanted to remain anonymous for fear of any repercussions.

Nicola Howe, 50, of Dean Street, said that gangs often pass outside of her home and will thump on people’s doors and windows as they pass.

“It’s mainly the litter that’s left outside our houses,” she added. “I’ve found countless Chinese cartons and crisp wrappers.”

And Audrey Studholme, 81, of Dean Street, said: “We can mainly hear them larking around in the churchyard.”

However, Jeff Taylor, who owns a carpet business opposite the church, said that he had never experienced or heard of any problems with youths in the area.

“I have traded here for nearly 20 years and had no trouble with gangs of youths. I find the youths around here well behaved and they will always talk to me. It isn’t a bad area at all,” he said.

Jordan Tinkler used to hang around the area with friends when he was younger. The 19-year-old said that the problem of gangs would never be tackled because there’s nothing else for youngsters to do.

“Gangs of youths get stereotyped,” he said. “It’s all right when you’re young as you can go to the park and other places, but as soon as you turn 15 or 16 there is absolutely nothing to do.”

Inspector Gary Hunter said that dispersal orders have been successful in recent years – including at Vulcan Park in Workington and Egremont town centre.

Under the order, groups can be told to leave the area and be banned for up to 24 hours.

If they refuse they can be fined up to £2,500 or sent to prison.

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