Long-term solution hope over Shrewsbury dirt bike hooligans

A permanent solution to yobs terrorising a park on dirt bikes is being worked on, says a police inspector.

Police confiscated a dirt bike from a youth at Greenfields playing fields. Picture: Shrewsbury Cops
Police confiscated a dirt bike from a youth at Greenfields playing fields. Picture: Shrewsbury Cops

Anti-social yobs have made life a misery for some residents in Greenfields, Shrewsbury, who have been faced with abuse by youths on quad bikes and mini motos.

Families and dog walkers were especially frustrated during the first period of lockdown earlier in the year, when a walk to the local park was their only chance to get out and about for fresh air and exercise.

Shrewsbury inspector Saf Ali said it is a problem that tends to rear its head more often when the sun is out – and that as well as increasing patrols, police are looking into ways the area could be made more safe and secure.

“Reports have slowed down but it’s something we are still working on,” he said. “Normally it’s something that crops up around the summer holidays. Something we’re looking to do is find a solution that makes it difficult for them to do that so it doesn’t crop up again.

“It needs to be safe for people to go out walking and for kids. We want to focus on prevention of a long-term issue.”

More officers were on the beat at peak times in the summer and they confiscated a dirt bike from a youth.

Bagley councillor Alex Phillips believes finding a solution is slightly tricky, because putting up barrier would go against promoting cycling and active travel, but is hopeful the issue can be resolved.

'Shame'

“You could put a bike gate there but it doesn’t promote cycling. I think once the Flax Mill offices are ready and there is a well-lit car park there, the fact that the area will be better lit and more people around could naturally act as a deterrent. It’s a very small minority ruining the enjoyment for the vast majority of residents,” Councillor Phillips said.

“Very many people have enjoyed it and it has been a shame that kind of behaviour has been happening. It’s been going on for some time.”

Earlier this year a ban on anti-social behaviour in Shrewsbury town centre was put in place for another three years in response to increasing reports of drug and alcohol-related incidents, graffiti and urinating and defecating.

Shropshire Council’s cabinet agreed to extend the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) implemented in August 2017, which gave police and council officers powers to prevent people or groups committing anti-social behaviour in a specified area.

Among the incidents recorded in the last three years are 228 occurrences of urinating or defecating in public and 271 of criminal damage or arson.

The most common types of incidents were those involving alcohol or drugs. There were 790 incidents of drug litter, 398 of drug misuse and 72 of drug dealing, as well as 268 reports of alcohol litter and a further 319 alcohol-related incidents.

Councillor Gwilym Butler, portfolio holder for communities, told the council’s cabinet that consultees including the town council fully supported extending the order.

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