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'Boozers plague us' claim Accrington traders
TRADERS in Accrington claim they are being plagued with problems linked to street drinking, despite a police crackdown.
A joint bid to tackle the problem was launched by the council and police in June, but locals said they had seen little progress.
Despite it being illegal to consume alcohol in public, people have reported drunken beggars intimidating shoppers, dumping used needles in the street, and abusing those who dare to challenge them.
Mark Brown, founder of CATCH, which is campaigning for a better Accrington town centre said: “It seems to be between three and five people constantly there.
“They are there early, then they move up and down the bus station before coming back at night.
“They are just sat drinking and intimidating people, and making it a horrible part of town.
“I have written to the police and have not heard anything back.”
Dave Wearden, owner of Gift Print, Peel Street said: “They constantly occupy the bus station. One lady went to get on a bus and ended up getting a taxi because she was scared.
“It’s not just the alcohol, it’s the begging. They go up to people and ask for 20p or 30p.
“There are occasions we have had to kick needles into the gutter because they have been left on the pavement, but that has not happened since they closed the portable toilet.”
The deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, Coun Clare Pritchard, said that there was not a ‘significant problem’.
She said: “There are not people sat around drinking every day. There has not been a spike and the problem has not got worse. It has stayed the same. If the police see people drinking, they confiscate their alcohol.”
Leader of the opposition, Coun Peter Britcliffe, said: “The traders are not making it up.”
Inspector Catherine Platt said: “There has been no significant rise in the number of calls we have received regarding anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
“We would reassure people that we have a dedicated town centre team, in addition to 24/7 patrols.”
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