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Teen gangs put street in the dark

ANGRY residents say street light-smashing youths are making their lives a misery.

ANGRY residents say street light-smashing youths are making their lives a misery.

The lamp standards in Rimington Avenue and Clarence Road, Accrington, are coming under fire from groups of youths aged between 11 and 17. But residents are finding it a struggle to identify the culprits as their streets are constantly being plunged into darkness.

One resident, who refused to be named for fear of repercussions, said: "If they had their way there wouldn't be any light in this area. They are just smashing the lights for the sheer hell of it. The kids smash the lights up at all hours ... sometimes at 3am. It's just getting worse. When the police ask us who is doing it we say we can't see them because it's too dark!"

The problem was highlighted at a Hyndburn Police Authority Community meeting, held at Mount Carmel High School, Accrington.

Superintendent David Mallaby, from Eastern Division, said that while street lighting was a matter for the local council, the police took the issue very seriously and were working with the council to address the situation.

He added: "Some funding is becoming available for additional street lighting along the Blackburn Road corridor to reduce the fear of crime and the likelihood of crime." He also spoke about the work of the community beat managers, who were now making a difference working with communities in several districts, and the new Police and Community Support Officers.

Also at the meeting was Chief Inspector Tracy O'Gara, who said police were also tackling the problem of under-age drinking in the area. She added: "We are looking at the problem of off-licences selling alcohol to under-age people and working closely with trading standards to try and catch the shopkeepers out. We've targeted 20 premises in Accrington and we have prosecuted 12 of them, so we are taking this seriously."

Spring Hill councillor Edith Dunston said: "I share the concerns of the local residents and am going to speak to them about the problems so we can get it looked into."


Stuart Pike
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