Elderly say teenage yobs are making their lives a misery

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ELDERLY residents of Newsham in Blyth are disputing police figures showing that anti-social behaviour is on the decrease, claiming their lives are still being made a misery by teenage yobs.

A police community forum held in the town on Monday was told that crime there was down by more than a quarter last year, but that news failed to reassure the dozen or so residents present.

Older residents told the meeting, held at the Isabella Community Centre, that they were frustrated about thuggish behaviour blighting their lives.

Chief Superintendent Mark Dennett, police area commander for Northumberland, revealed that crime reported in Blyth last year was down by just over 28 per cent on the year before.

He said: “Crime has been reducing year on year, but I accept that is no consolation if you have been a victim of crime.

“Anti-social behaviour is reducing and is down in terms of youth anti-social behaviour.

“It may come as a surprise, but there is less youth anti-social behaviour than there is adult anti-social behaviour in Blyth.

“We did a survey asking people what were their top three concerns in Blyth, and number one was teenagers hanging around. Number two was vandalism and damage, and three was inconsiderate parking.”

A group of residents from Chester Grove were adamant that there had been no reduction in anti-social behaviour, but conceded that incidents had gone unreported.

They have to contend with mud and snowballs being thrown at their homes’ windows, sometimes breaking them, and louts running over the top of their cars, as well as planters being stolen, they said.

They were asked by Ch Supt Dennett to inform police of any incidents as there had only been two reports made since November, but were promised that the issue would be looked into by this weekend anyway.

He added that there was a possibility that CCTV cameras could be installed to tackle the problem.

Neither of the residents complaining wanted a neighbourhood officer to visit them to discuss their problems, however.

Another elderly resident, of Whithorn Court, off Albion Way, said his efforts to collect names for a petition to Northumberland County Council last year calling for no-entry signs at the entrances to the estate had paid off.

But cars heading for Malvins Close First School were still causing problems by blocking drives and parking on pavements and grass verges while parents dropped children off, he added.

He was told that the police have the power at their discretion to issue fixed-penalty tickets to anyone flouting parking rules.