Shopkeepers have imposed a ban on the sale of eggs and flour to young people – as authorities crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour in the run-up to Halloween and Bonfire Night.
The voluntary ban is part of Operation Autumnus, which is designed to ensure the coming weeks pass off peacefully in Redcar and Cleveland.
The initiative will see emergency services, council and housing chiefs take positive action to nip any potential problems in the bud.
A dispersal order covering the Greater Eston area will also come into force this weekend, running from 11.59pm on Sunday, October 28, to the same time on Tuesday, November 6.
The order gives officers the power to disperse groups of two or more people where there are “reasonable grounds for believing that the presence or behaviour of the group has resulted in, or is likely to result in, any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed”.
This year’s operation also includes dedicated police enforcement and patrols, with additional resources put into key areas on October 30, November 4 and 5.
Cleveland Police and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council officers are making home visits and sending letters to people currently subject to acceptable behaviour agreements or Asbos.
Visits have also been made to local schools, while posters have been issued to all shops and supermarkets reminding young people that anti-social and nuisance behaviour will not be tolerated and can have serious consequences.
The majority of these stores have agreed to impose the voluntary ban on egg and flour sales. Meanwhile, from Monday, October 29, Cleveland Fire Brigade will be carrying out arson audit patrols, while the Council’s bonfire removal teams and Coast & Country Housing’s estate teams will tackle any problems on public land.
The teams will be responding to reports of illegal bonfires from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, with additional cover from noon to 8pm on November 3 and 4.
Unannounced inspections will be carried out at all premises licensed to sell fireworks to ensure they are complying with licensing conditions.
Residents can report any concerns regarding illegal or under-age firework sales to the Council’s Regulatory Services team on 01642 774774.
A wide range of activities for children and young people is being staged in libraries and community centres, while the Halloween Scream Factory at Kirkleatham Showground and Fright Night at Guisborough Forest Walkway will provide quality organised events.
Councillor Steve Goldswain, Chair of the Community Safety Partnership and Cabinet Member for Community Protection, said: “We take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social and criminal behaviour, particularly at this time of year. Dark nights and fireworks can leave some residents worried, but we want to reassure everyone that this partnership approach has been put in place through Operation Autmunus to ensure that we are reducing the opportunity for a minority of people who may try to cause problems for other residents.”
Chief Inspector Tariq Ali, Chief Inspector for Neighbourhoods and Partnerships within the Redcar & Cleveland District of Cleveland Police, said: “This is traditionally a very busy time of year for us and the dispersal order runs alongside the other enforcement, education and diversionary work we are doing with our partners. Officers can use discretion with groups which are not creating a problem, but the order gives them another tool to deal positively with the minority who cause trouble.”
For further information about Operation Autumnus, contact the Community Safety Partnership Team on 01642 302761 or local neighbourhood management teams on 01642 774774.