Car parks for a North East landmark have become a hotspot for “dogging”, drug taking, and illegal racing, it has been claimed.
Council bosses have been warned of a spate of “anti-social and illegal
behaviour throughout the evening and night” at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay.
The concerns were raised in a public question put to North Tyneside Council this week, alleging a raft of activities that also include “donutting” cars, urinating and defecating, blaring car horns, and “intimidating behaviour to visitors and volunteers”.
A Whitley Bay resident, Ms S Bennett, told the authority it was “not uncommon to have all of these activities occurring in a single evening” and that the nature reserve should be somewhere for people to “enjoy the peace and quiet of the natural environment”.
She asked: “As this behaviour has been going on for some time my question is: does North Tyneside Council intend to address the problem of night-time anti-social behaviour on the nature reserve and, if so, how and when?”
The car parks are now being watched by Project Vita, a taskforce dedicated to tackling anti-social behaviour. According to Northumbria Police figures, ten crucial incidents have been reported around the car parks since January this year.
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In response to public worries, North Tyneside’s deputy mayor Carl Johnson said: “Anti-social behaviour is a concern for our residents and every member of this council. The elected mayor established a multi-agency task force earlier this year that promotes a problem-solving approach to anti-social behaviour.
“This had cross-party support and has partners including Northumbria Police, Nexus, the business forum, and Newcastle United Foundation. The task force has been well supported by all.
“We are pleased that data, which we are reviewing, shows a significant downward trend but we will keep going in our efforts to solve anti-social behaviour. The council works with police colleagues to manage car parks and surrounding public places.
“There is an action plan across the nature reserve, which includes the Lighthouse car park. As part of this plan community inspection security team regularly monitor and patrols the area using CCTV vehicles.
“When we do see anti-social behaviour we ourselves will take enforcement action. The security team will report any illegal activity to the police to enable enforcement action.
“In addition, our security control room will report speeding vehicles directly to the police. The Project Vita team have also added the car parks to their list of hotspots.”
The deputy mayor also stated further “reasonable steps” will be examined by the council to reduce crime in the area.
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