Teenage gangs continuing to strike fear at Ossett bus station

Police and council officials are teaming up with Metro to warn youngsters that intimidating behaviour in and around the bus station in Ossett will not be tolerated.'PCSO Oliver Haycock, with PCSO Tracey Laverick and Rob Newton - Environment Officer WMDC in background.'w321a239
Police and council officials are teaming up with Metro to warn youngsters that intimidating behaviour in and around the bus station in Ossett will not be tolerated.'PCSO Oliver Haycock, with PCSO Tracey Laverick and Rob Newton - Environment Officer WMDC in background.'w321a239

Drink and drug fuelled teenage gangs are continuing to intimidate passengers at Ossett bus station.

In a letter to West Yorkshire Police’s chief constable, Richard Swithenbank, from Gawthorpe said groups of up to 15 teenagers were loitering at the station on evenings.

The letter, which he shared with the Express, said: “They are intimidating the older members of the community and appear to be smoking drugs and drinking alcohol.

“I have spoken to a number of older people, who all agree that this anti-social behaviour must be stopped immediately.

“I am told that these disturbing incidents are happening more frequently.”

Insp Jo Mercer, of the northwest neighbourhood policing team, urged people to report the incidents.

She said: “We are fully aware of the issues at the bus station and have worked tirelessly to address the problem in conjunction with partner agencies and Metro.

“We have run targeted operations in conjunction with Safer Travel and have run operations on a weekend using Special Constables.

“In addition the ‘ring leader’ is being investigated with a view to further enforcement action by Wakefield Council’s anti-social behaviour unit.

“I would ask members of the public if there are incidents ongoing to call us direct so that we can direct resources accordingly. We cannot deal effectively if we are unaware of issues.”

Police maintain that the reopening of the Brickhouse youth club, on Prospect Road, about a year ago has helped to deter anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

But it only opens one day a week, on Thursdays.

And councillors said the teenagers were more likely to loiter inside the bus station when it was cold.

Coun Angela Taylor said: “It’s ongoing problem and I just think it’s such a shame that there’s a facility there.

“The Brickhouse has helped and it would be good if it could open more often.”

The Brickhouse committee said they were hoping to open the centre for a second day every week, but said they were limited by volunteers and funding.

Tony Sargeant, board chairman treasurer of the Brickhouse Youth Foundation for Ossett, said: “We are always grateful for people who can volunteer and we are looking at the possibility of a second night.

“Some of the children turn up at the club very hungry, and every night we provide food which is something else we need funding for.”

To volunteer or help with funding, contact the NPT on 01924 294671.