Police have pledged a zero tolerance approach after winning a legal bid to tackle alcoholics, street drinkers and drug addicts who are terrorising shop keepers and tourists in the centre of Scarborough.
A Dispersal Order will be enforced in the town centre which will target members of a 15-strong group who regularly urinate in shop doorways, swear and shout at passers-by and harass visitors to the seaside resort.
Councillors agreed to grant the order following a barrage of complaints from distressed residents and traders who face daily battles with the intimidating group.
Upset tourists have also voiced concerns, claiming the problem reflects badly on the town and puts people off making a return visit.
Pc Harriet Green, from Scarborough Police, who put together a dossier of evidence on the group, said: “It’s good news for the town, especially with summer coming up. We want people to come to the seaside resort and see it as it should be and not have to endure people drinking and dealing drugs on the streets.”
The order will give officers powers to banish groups of two or more offenders causing problems in the town centre and arrest anyone who returns within 24 hours, before hauling them to court.
It also allows them to take young people under the age of 16 home and place them under a curfew between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
“As of this point we are taking a zero tolerance approach to their behaviour and we will be arresting them if they breach their dispersal order,” said Pc Green.
“CCTV is on board which will assist us in removing groups by letting us know where they are, as well as informing us if they come back to the area.”
If North Yorkshire Police chiefs agree to rubber-stamp the application, the order could be in place as early as next month.
It will be enforced for six months across the area bounded by Victoria Road, Northway, Aberdeen Walk and Westborough, together with West Square. If the situation fails to improve, police can apply for a second order.