Police to get tough on teen nuisance

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Teenage yobs plaguing parts of Garstang are to be targeted during a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Garstang Neighbourhood Police Team have vowed to get tough on youths after a rise in reports of under-age drinking, boy-racers and vandalism in and around the town.

Operation Crank began on Friday, October 11, and will run until next Wednesday, November 6, covering both Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Its successes so far include a 12-year-old boy from Catterall, who was given a Youth Referral Order and had a laser pen seized after a resident reported the pen repeatedly being shone into their home.

Complaints over anti-social behaviour have been made a priority following recent Police and community together meetings.

PCSO John Holland said: “Residents in Garstang have raised a number of concerns recently about the behaviour of some young people in the area.

“Due to this, we have been running this operation to combat these concerns quickly as we take the concerns of our residents very seriously and want Garstang and the surrounding area to be an enjoyable place to live.”

Other recent incidents highlighted include a 16-year-old boy suspected of drugs-related offences stopped and searched following an indication from a police drugs dog.

The boy was found to be possession of a quantity of cannabis and will have to engage with the Youth Offending Team.

Alcohol was seized at a house party following complaints and warnings issued to young drivers causing harassment, nuisance and distress.

Should any of those drivers receive a second warning, their vehicle will be seized.

PCSO Holland added: “It is important we do not demonise all young people because of the actions of a small minority.

“Garstang needs to be an enjoyable place for everyone, whatever their age, as long as they are enjoying themselves legally, responsibly and in ways that do not affect the enjoyment of others.”

The operation has received the backing of Garstang County Councillor Sandra Perkins, who praised local officers for their work with young people of the community.

She said: “I am more than impressed with the community policing in Garstang and the work of officers with young people.

“If there is anything going on they are straight there keeping a beady eye on it.

“I think our officers do an extremely good job - they care about the young people and educating them on how to look after the community.”

She added the facilities in and round Garstang town centre made it vulnerable to trouble-makers from outside the area.

“I think issues with the boy racers on the community centre car park particularly are related to people from outside of Garstang.

“The town has places open late in the evening - so people from surrounding areas are drawn in.”

Operation Crank has also received funding from the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC) to produce posters and leaflets for local Trick or Treaters and residents in the run-up to Halloween.

PC Dave Kerfoot said: “Finally, mischief week is now upon us. We have a number of small operations running in the area which are aimed at trying to disrupt any anti social behaviour before it starts.

If you are going to be out trick and treating yourself, please try and spend a moment to consider how your actions might affect someone - throwing eggs at someone’s windows might seem like low level fun to you, but it can be very distressing for the person involved - this is true for most people, but can sometimes be worse for the elderly, who may be living alone - have fun, but please try and think a little about other people as well.”