Gangs of youths targeted in new police crackdown in Portsmouth

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YOBS who make people’s lives a misery are being targeted by police in a new crackdown in Portsmouth.

From Thursday, police can order groups of two or more to leave parts of Buckland and Stamshaw if they believe they are likely to cause trouble.

Dispersal orders are being introduced in Widley Road and Jervis Road, Stamshaw, and Kingston Crescent, Mile End Road, Church Street, Lake Road and Kingston Road in Buckland for six months.

Anyone who stays in the areas after police or police community support officers tell them to leave under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act faces a £5,000 fine and up to three months in jail.

The step has been taken by the Safer Portsmouth Partnership – made up of organisations including the council and emergency services – following reports of problems including anti-social behaviour, harassment and assaults on residents.

Perinpamoorthy Sithamparanathar, 37, works at Widley Food and Wine in Widley Road, Stamshaw.

He said: ‘It’s been going on for a long time – more than year. The young people hang around outside trying to get people to buy alcohol or tobacco for them.

‘We don’t sell it because we can see them, then they get angry with us.

‘They throw balls and eggs at the windows.

‘Six or seven of them hang around every day.

‘On Friday and Saturday we make about five or 10 calls to the police.’

Sergeant Emma Hart, whose beat area covers Hilsea, Stamshaw and Tipner, said: ‘Residents feel they can’t use their local shops through fear of intimidation and this in turn is affecting business for the shop owners. This is simply not acceptable.’

PC Sean Hopkinson, of Nelson and Kingston Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: ‘People living in Buckland have told us about a number of anti-social behaviour issues such as noise, public order offences, rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour and even assaults on vulnerable members of the public taking place in the area.

‘This appears to be caused by a number of young people who regularly congregate in Buckland during the day and night.’

Some youths have already been given anti-social behaviour orders.