Police won’t be beaten by youth gangs rampaging in Morecambe

Police have said they are not stepping off the gas in their fight against youth gangs in Morecambe.
Police have said they are not stepping off the gas in their fight against youth gangs in Morecambe.

Police have vowed not to take their foot off the gas in the fight to tackle youth gangs rampaging in Morecambe.

In the latest incidents over the weekend, police believe youths are responsible for a burglary at a Morecambe school and two youths were seen running away from the scene of an arson in Heysham which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Recent incidents have included:

* The old lifeboat station damaged with stones thrown by youths

* A school garden being trashed by vandals

* A 75-year-old man and a police officer being assaulted in Heysham village

* Graffiti scrawled in red paint on the new sea defences in Morecambe

* Serious arsons including the Ranch House pub and Joys Toys

* West End Gardens play park damaged by vandals

* Community centre attacked by vandals

* A spate of vandalism to the Breeze Café and Alexandra Park

* Vandalism at Happy Mount Park to areas maintained by volunteers

Sgt Adie Knowles, of the Morecambe Neighbourhood Policing team, said: “I will only be satisfied when the public start telling me that they are seeing great improvements with these issues.

“Until then we will not be taking the foot off the gas.

“We have had some evidence that youths have been coming from Lancaster in connection with the Heysham issues.

“There are a number of different groups which are causing these issues. It certainly is not one group moving round the area.

“There are also a number of locations which are causing great concern at present.

“They are Happy Mount Park, Regent Park, Poulton Park, Heysham Barrows and Alexandra Road area of the West End.

“We are and have been dedicating patrols to these areas at the key times to increase our presence.

“We are also looking at proactive solutions by linking in with the local high schools to try and educate pupils about the implications of getting involved in such behaviour.

“We have been making visits to local off licences to try and prevent alcohol getting into the hands of under 18’s.

“We are trying a number of avenues to tackle these issues and we have increased officers time to the issues mentioned.

“We are linking in with the council regarding the parks which are causing concern.

“I do encourage parents to know exactly where their children are and when the public see damage/ violence and anti-social behaviour that they let us know.

“Also I must remind people that if they see a crime in progress to ring on 999, the non-emergency number is 101, you can ring the NHP office on 01524 596986.

“They can report issues online as well at www.lancashire.police.uk.

“I have no problem with anyone speaking with me direct on 01524 596935.”

Police are currently investigating the arson at the Heysham nursery and are unable to comment at present.

Meanwhile the youngest Morecambe town councillor believes parents should be fined if their children behave anti-socially.

Coun Josh Brandwood also said Morecambe Town Council and Lancaster City Council should work alongside the police to tackle the issue.

“We need high visibility policing to discourage individuals from vandalising our beautiful seaside town,” said Coun Brandwood, 22.

“We should also make an example of those damaging the area by putting them into a community service programme. I also believe some responsibility lies with the parents/guardians of the youths and that’s why they should be left with a financial penalty.”

* Police have arrested a youth in connection with the criminal damage committed at the RNLI lifeboat station on September 25.