UNDER-AGE drinking has been blamed for the latest spate of anti-social behaviour in the Spring Hill area of Accrington. And it has been claimed that residents are too afraid to report incidents as they fear for their lives.
Householder Andrew Barton wrote to Accrington Area Council to ask for help, saying he is ready to quit the area if things don't improve.
He said: "My family have already moved out because of the problems and I am now considering doing the same. Two of my neighbours have previously moved for the same reason. Most of the residents are scared to complain. In some cases people feel that they are putting their lives at risk by speaking out and keep quiet in the hope that somebody else complains."
Inspector Phil Cottam from Accrington Police replied: "I understand people's reservations but they have a vital role and we rely on them to give information to our Comm-unity Beat Managers and Police Community Support Officers.
"In Spring Hill they have got Wayne Smith, who is trying to liaise with people who feel victimised. We're providing these officers to offer a continuity of support. They are there to speak to residents and they can be easily identified.''
Inspector Cottam added that another Community Beat Manager was due to start in the area next month. He added: "Hopefully we will be at the forefront of this kind of initiative, which is called community engagement. It will encourage people to come forward to give us the evidence we need to root out the trouble-makers."
Ward councillor Mrs Pam Barton said: "Spring Hill is quite a large ward and the police have been wonderful here. "I understand residents are reluctant to come forward but that's the only way to solve this problem. We are getting results and we need the residents to come forward and identify the culprits. That's the only way we will be able to keep it down."