Booze ban to tackle years of trouble

27th April 2011'The police have just introduced an alcohol exclusion zone into the College Grove area. Residents have shed some light on the problems that were being experienced in the area and their views on the new drinking ban'Pictured on the green are:  L/R:Michael Shaw, Ellen Wakefield, Qasar Khan, John and Christine Ellis, Mohammed Ayub.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE
27th April 2011'The police have just introduced an alcohol exclusion zone into the College Grove area. Residents have shed some light on the problems that were being experienced in the area and their views on the new drinking ban'Pictured on the green are: L/R:Michael Shaw, Ellen Wakefield, Qasar Khan, John and Christine Ellis, Mohammed Ayub.'PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

BOOZED up yobs who have been drinking on the streets and intimidating a community are finally being tackled.

People living in College Grove say they have suffered for years with gangs drinking and causing vandalism around the clock outside Lightwaves Leisure Centre, in a children’s playground and the HomeZone area.

And they say the problem has got steadily worse leading to anti-social behaviour and littering.

But the area has now been made an alcohol exclusion zone, giving patrolling police officers the power to confiscate people’s alcohol if they are found drinking it in public.

Mick Shaw, who has lived in the area for nearly 40 years, said: “These people drinking seem to have no respect. It is intimidating for others and causes a lot of litter. You only have to walk around to see the amount of cans and bottles lying around.”

Mr Shaw said he had been pushing for a ban to be introduced for about four years with other members of the North Wakefield Community Group (NWCG) which has since disbanded.

He said: “This has always been an area of movement because of the types of houses and flats here. It fluctuates between good and bad – but recently we’ve had it bad.”

Mohammed Ayub, of the Next Generation Youth Community Project, urged the police to patrol the area more frequently.

He said: “Drinking is a never ending problem here and it has taken them so long to implement this ban.

“It is okay putting these signs up but the real work begins now – we need it to be enforced.”

Mr Ayub said drinkers and drug users were increasingly being found congregating on the Stanley Royd playing fields, off Eastmoor Road.

He said: “Our main worry is that now the ban is in place in this area we are seeing an increase in problems in other areas.”

The alcohol exclusion zone , set up by a Wakefield Council and police partnership, covers an area from Marsh Way, Arundel Street and Jacobs Well Lane to Eastmoor Road, Pinderfields Road, Smithwaite Street and Saville Street.

Insp Lis Walker, of the central neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “The general feeling is that there has been a rise in the number of alcohol-related problems.

“We now have the power to seize people’s alcohol and issue banning orders and directions to leave.”

Anyone with any information should contact the NPT on 01924 293282.