Cracking down on the troublemakers

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ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour in Huthwaite has been slashed by 63 per cent after a hard-hitting order was put in place to tackle troublemakers.

A dispersal order giving police extra powers to move on anyone causing problems in the village was put in place in December last year.

And since then there have been just 11 reported incidents in the 20 streets covered by the order - compared to 30 incidents in the previous three months.

Said beat manager, Pc Paul Carter: “Anti-social behaviour has reduced significantly and those who live and work in Huthwaite will have undoubtedly noticed a difference.

“Everyone has the right to live in their community without fear or intimidation and we hope that the extra measures being taken have gone some way in improving people’s quality of live and in making them feel safer.”

The order was passed in partnership with Ashfield District Council following persistent reports of anti-social behaviour in the area, including street drinking, the use and sale of illegal drugs, fighting, as well as rowdy, intimidating and abusive behaviour.

It allows officers and PCSOs to direct groups of two or more people to leave the area if they are intimidating, harassing, alarming or causing distress to members of the public, or are likely to do so.

Before the order was put in place, businesses reported a downturn in trade with customers feeling harassed and intimidated by the troublemakers.

Three months on, one local shop keeper said that he feels safer since the order was introduced.

He said: “Before the order was in place, kids would hang around in the car park all the time. Sometimes cars would be damaged and my next door neighbour’s window was also smashed once.

“They would also shout things to me in the street, which left me feeling very intimidated. It’s much better now and they don’t hang around as much as they used to – things have definitely improved.”

Under 16s are not allowed in the dispersal order zone between 9pm and 6am unless under the supervision of a parent or responsible person aged 18 or over.

Anyone who fails to comply risks being arrested and could face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

And the dispersal order is not the only tactic being used by police to tackle troublemakers.

An 18-year-old Huthwaite man was recently made the subject of a drinking banning order after being drunk and abusive in the village on three separate occasions.

He is not allowed to be in a state of drunkenness in the town or to be in the area with an open drinking vessel and if the order is breached, he faces arrest and a fine of up to £2,500.

Pc Carter said: “Huthwaite is home to a very close knit community, where many honest, good people live and work.

“I am determined that the select few who previously made the lives of local people a misery will no longer blight our community.”