A successful campaign which aims to clampdown on anti-social behaviour during the lighter evenings has re-launched in St Helens. Now in its seventh year, Springwatch sees community safety partners join forces to target issues such as off-road vehicle nuisance, anti-social fires and neighbourhood nuisance, which often increases when the clocks go forward.
With a continuing focus on off-road vehicle nuisance – which last year saw eight off-road bikes seized, and 1 Section 59 Warning issued for reckless driving – this year’s crackdown has already got off to a flying start after police seized two off-road motorbikes from Billinge Hill at the start of this month (April).
The campaign will also see a clampdown on under age sales – known as ‘proxy sales’. Any person buying alcohol for a person under 18 is committing an offence which can lead to a criminal conviction or an unlimited fine from the courts.
Speaking at this year’s launch outside St Helens Town Hall, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Lisa Preston, said:
“Tackling underage sales is vital if we are to stop young people accessing alcohol. Any adult who buys alcohol on behalf of a child is committing a criminal offence. Not only could it cause serious physical and psychological harm to those who consume it, the local community also suffers from alcohol related anti-social behaviour. Off-licenses also have a duty to ensure they are doing all they can to prevent underage sales and fulfil their duties as a responsible retailer.
“If you see an adult buying alcohol and then passing it to someone who looks under 18, you can report it anonymously to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06”.
Police Inspector Matt Drennan, added: “Springwatch brings together partners with a collective focus on the issues that affect our communities.
“I would appeal to anyone with information on any form of anti-social behaviour taking place in their area, whether it is through the use of illegal scrambler bikes or underage drinking, to get in touch with us and I can assure them that we will take action.”
To report any form of anti-social behaviour, please call Merseyside Police via the 101 number, or dial 999 in the event of an emergency or if there is a crime in progress. Alternatively, people can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers, 24 hours a day, on 0800 555 111.
For more information about the Springwatch campaign, visit www.safersthelens.org.uk