PORTSMOUTH traders have praised police for launching a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
Anyone found causing trouble in Cosham High Street from now on will be sent on their way.
And if they refuse to leave then they could face a £5,000 fine or three months in jail.
It comes after 31 incidents involving drunks, beggars and vandals were reported in the past three months.
The dispersal order, which is supported by Portsmouth City Council, will be enforced until February next year.
Tony Broome, owner of Shoefix, in High Street, said:
‘It’s good the police are cracking down on these things. I have been working in high streets since I was 17 and from time to time you get issues. It’s good to see everyone working together on this.’
As previously reported, there’s been a particular problem with street drinkers hanging around in the alleyway between Crown Bingo and the Post Office.
Chris Hutchinson, assistant manager at Crown Bingo, said customers had been abused in the past by drunks loitering about.
‘It’s good something’s happening,’ he said.
‘The police have been in chatting to us about how we can get rid of them.
‘They used to abuse our customers.
‘It used to happen every so often a couple of years ago and then it fizzled out. But in the last few months it’s picked up again.’
Tan and Envy had its front window cracked this month by a gang of youths who attacked a teenager and slammed him into it. As reported, the culprits fled before police arrived. Lauren Davies, 20, who works there, said the punishment may not be enough to deter troublemakers.
‘I just don’t think they will leave Cosham,’ she said.
‘There is no way of knowing they will come back.’
Constables in uniform and police community support officers have the power to tell groups they need to leave.
Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘People can be reassured that Portsmouth City Council is working closely with the police and residents to make sure the few who are causing a nuisance or anti-social behaviour will not spoil the enjoyment of the city for the majority.’