Nuisance gangs ‘will be removed’ from Kirk Hallam playing fields

WARNING -- Sgt Damien Shannon.
WARNING -- Sgt Damien Shannon.

Gangs of youths causing trouble on playing fields in Kirk Hallam will now be booted off, the police have warned.

The youths, mainly aged between 15 and 19, have been plaguing nearby residents with anti-social behaviour, noise and drinking at the playing fields off Windsor Crescent.

But now the police have been granted a dispersal order to tackle the problem after a flood of complaints from the residents.

The order means that officers will be able to break up groups of two or more people who they believe are causing trouble and order them to leave the area for up to 48 hours. Youths under the age of 16 can also be taken home as part of the order.

“This is a community facility for all to enjoy, and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated,” said Sgt Damien Shannon, who is in charge of the police’s Safer Neighbourhood Team for Kirk Hallam and Hallam Fields.

“We have had numerous complaints from local residents who say the enjoyment that some are seeking there is causing a nuisance. This is not acceptable.”

Anyone who refuses to comply with the order to leave will be committing an offence and could be arrested.

The new measure is already paying dividends. Between Thursday, October 6 and Monday, October 10, dispersal notices were issued to six youths, including a 19-year-old who was found with cannabis and was issued with a fixed penalty fine for possessing a class B drug. A set of amplified speakers was also confiscated from another youngster.

Sgt Shannon added: “We are aware that not all young people want to cause a nuisance, but it is clear that some do. We will target them to ensure the playing fields can be enjoyed by the majority.

“Our message to the young people is: by all means, use the playing fields but do so in a way that does not cause a nuisance to others, or we will remove you.”