Shoppers left scared by 'intimidating' youngsters outside Wellingborough supermarket

There have been a rise in reports of anti-social behaviour by gangs of youths

Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 3:01 pm

Wellingborough parents and carers are being urged to make sure they know where their children are after anti-social behaviour outside a Wellingborough supermarket left members of the public feeling intimidated.

Gangs of young people have been gathering outside the Morrisons supermarket in Oxford Street, harassing shoppers, causing criminal damage and intimidating people.

In response Northants Police have stepped-up proactive high-visibility patrols and are also carrying out plain-clothed operations to target the gangs.

Morrisons in Wellingborough

Officers are appealing to the parents and carers to speak to their children and make them aware of the ‘misery’ they are causing for members of the public who say they are scared to go shopping as a result of the behaviour.

Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Gina O’Connor-Frisby said: “The behaviour being displayed by this group of young people is having a significant effect on members of the public who are feeling intimidated and scared of going shopping.

“This is unacceptable and we have been using all the legislation available to us to tackle this issue.

“However we want to take this opportunity to appeal to these young people’s parents and carers to please make sure your child is not involved. We know it’s only a minority and we don’t want to label all young people, but sadly this group is ruining it for everyone else."

An announcement on the force’s social media revealed that Northants Police has now secured a Section 34 dispersal order for this area which gives uniformed police officers and PCSOs the power to direct those causing anti-social behaviour to leave an area.

The dispersal power will enable officers (constables in uniform and PCSOs) to direct a person who has committed, or is likely to commit, anti-social behaviour to leave a specified area and not return for a specified period of up to 48 hours.

Officers must have reasonable grounds that the person’s behaviour is ‘contributing, or is likely to contribute’ to anti-social behaviour or crime or disorder in the area.

Directions to leave an area can be given in writing to ensure that those being dispersed are clear where they are being dispersed from or when not ‘reasonably practicable’ direction might be verbal.

Failure to comply with the direction would be a criminal offence and would carry a maximum penalty of a level 4 fine (currently £2,500) and/or three months imprisonment.

An officer would also be able to require an individual to hand over items causing, or likely to cause, anti-social behaviour – for instance, alcohol or a can of spray paint.

Failure to comply with the requirement is a criminal offence, the maximum penalty for which is a level 2 fine (currently £500).

Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Gina O’Connor-Frisby said: “We will prosecute people, regardless of their age, if any offences take place, and I implore you to make sure your child isn’t one of those people.”

Report non-emergency crime to 101, visit www.northants.police.uk/RO or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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