Survey calls for under 16s curfew in Leigh

Under 16s should be banned from roaming the streets of Leigh beyond 10pm to tackle the rising tide of anti-social behaviour and crime, it has been suggested.

A residents’ survey has called for children to be placed under curfew from 10pm, forcing them to stay home unless supervised, although councillors fear it may be “a bit of overkill”.

It comes as a public space protection order is set to be imposed in Leigh to tackle a surge in alcohol-fuelled crime in the town.

Suggestions for tackling the problems included “implement a 10pm curfew for groups of under 16 years who are there without supervision”.

The suggestion was put to police but hasn’t been included in recommendations to the council.

Leigh councillor Carole Mulroney said such a scheme would be hard to implement. She said: I have spoken to police about a curfew but they say they can’t do it. It isn’t legal. I’m not sure what a curfew would achieve. It seems like a bit of overkill.

“The use of the knife arch will be a deterrent though and if they don’t know when the police are going to do it, it’s even more of a deterrent.”

Cllr Mulroney added: “I was the one who submitted the petition on behalf of residents. I completely support the order and thank officers for getting it moving so quickly. I am happy with the great co-operation we’ve had from the police and other agencies so that we can really get this moving and make a good show so that anyone who wants to make trouble in Leigh will stay away.

A number of suggestions came from residents. One said: “Implement security checks on the way into Old Town, and enforce the removal and immediate disposal of all alcohol and glass bottles, in the same way that football stadiums work. “

Others called for culprits to be photographed and police or security staff to “line up on the platforms of Leigh and Chalkwell Rail stations, and prevent gangs/mobs getting off the trains, like we did when the mods and rockers came to town in the 60’s”.

Fines of £1,000 were suggested for anyone throwing a bottle into the sea.

Residents have reported people urinating in the street, damage to street furniture, littering, fighting, assaults drug taking and knife related crime.

They have also had to put up with youths tombstoning, loud cars and motorbikes and large rowdy groups hampering Old Leigh’s fishing business.

Lyn Cast, 79, of Grand Drive, Leigh said: “It’s brilliant that police will be able to do this.

“It’s getting worrying going out at night time.

“There was always been problems round the Grand, especially at weekends and now there is lots of it in Old Leigh. If I see large groups of people I worry and it shouldn’t be like that. I know kids have got to have something but it has got out of hand.

“We need more youth clubs.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter