Huge rise in anti-social behaviour by troublemakers in the area this year

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Three young teenagers are among the latest to have been arrested in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour in Lydd.

The two girls from Lydd and Littlestone and a boy from Lydd were interviewed by police officers after reports of teenagers repeatedly knocked on windows and kicking the front door of a property in Cannon Street.

They have been released on police bail while officers investigate.

The arrests follow a series of problems in the area, forcing police to implement a designated dispersal zone giving officers more powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Until the end of September, uniformed officers, including PCSOs, have added powers to disperse groups congregating in the designated area who are causing intimidation, alarm or distress.

Earlier this month a 15-year-old girl from Lydd was charged with going against the order to disperse and is due to appear before magistrates on July 30.

In May a 15-year-old boy from the town was also charged with failing to disperse and the attempted theft of four bottles of wine from a High Street shop and is due before magistrates on July 2.

From January to March this year, 74 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded compared to 42 during the same period in 2012.

Many of the reports were about young people playing football, hitting vehicles, shops and homes – particularly in the Coronation Square area.

Under the dispersal zone, any group of two or more people found causing intimidation, harassment, alarm or distress in the designated area can be dispersed by a uniformed officer.

The dispersal area is chiefly the area of the town centre, bordered by the High Street on one side and Park Street on the other, and includes car park areas, public areas and alleyways within the zone.

Officers from Shepway’s neighbourhood policing unit will be supported by patrols of response officers.

Inspector Bill Thornton said: “This gives the police a discretionary power to move trouble-makers on, which is something we can’t otherwise do unless they are committing specific offences.

“It is an extra tool to help us deal with a minority of people who persist in causing a nuisance and spoiling the quality of life that people in Lydd can expect.

“Dispersal areas have proved effective in other areas of Kent and we shall be monitoring the one in Lydd to ensure that it supports the work that our neighbourhood officers, with the Kent County Council warden, have already been doing in the town.

“This has included being involved with the local youth club and talking to young people and parents to establish why the anti-social behaviour is taking place.”

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