Police target anti-social youths in Audley 'operation'
POLICE are winning their fight against anti-social behaviour after launching a weekend crackdown against troublemakers.
Operation Boughey is running in Audley on Friday nights to target 'intimidating' gangs of youths.
It followed complaints about anti-social behaviour including vandalism, graffiti and wheelie bins being set on fire.
Now two extra neighbourhood officers are pounding the beat on Friday nights to target troublespots including Church Street, St James' Church and an adjacent field, Audley Community Centre, and Audley allotments off Alsager Road.
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Nineteen complaints about anti-social behaviour in Audley were made to police in October – compared to 10 in October, 2011.
A further 14 complaints about criminal damage were also lodged in October, 2012.
But the number of anti-social behaviour calls was reduced to eight in November and six in December.
Eight criminal damage complaints were lodged in December, with none in November.
Sergeant Dominic Young said: "There has been an increase in anti-social behaviour in January. Most of that was snowballing and rowdy behaviour, with youths close to the roads throwing snowballs.
"Since we started the operation, we have sent out 20 letters to parents, advising them about anti-social behaviour involving their children and the action which may be taken and we have made 13 home visits.
"Five individuals linked to the wheelie bin fires have been referred to a fire safety course, while another 15 young people linked to anti-social behaviour have been referred to a course, which shows them how their behaviour may effect others.
"We have also got two individuals who are now being approached to sign Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC), which is a contract which sets out acceptable behaviour."
The police – who are working with Audley Parish Council – have also spoken to children at Sir Thomas Boughey High School, in Halmerend.
PCSO Colin Hodgkinson said: "We are doing a lot of high-visibility patrols looking for anti-social behaviour.
"We talk to youths, we have good banter with them. The local youths know us and we know them."
Villagers are welcoming the crime crackdown.
Elaine Edgeley, aged 48, of Audley, a volunteer at the youth drop-in centre, said: "There was a lot of trouble outside the Co-op, but the PCSOs are doing such a good job. It makes you feel a lot safer. It's a bit like having your local bobby on the beat again. It's what has been missing for a long time."
Frazier Marks, aged 13, of Audley, added: "The operation stops any trouble and the police are nice with us."