'People are terrified to leave their homes' - calls for action over anti-social behaviour

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett
Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett

Calls are being made for urgent action to tackle anti-social behaviour blighting a community.

People living in South Elmsall have raised concerns about vehicles racing around a car park close to Home Bargains, as well as littering, drug use and drunken actions.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said he had been approached about persistent nuisance behaviour during the evenings.

He said: "Residents have, for the last month, been disturbed by cars racing around the car park – as many as nineteen at a time. This is clearly very dangerous and has disrupted people in the nearby neighbourhoods."

Matthew Thomas, who lives locally and has been affected by the disorder, said anti-social behaviour had blighted the area for years.

He said: "This car park and surrounding environs have suffered badly from dog fouling, a huge litter problem, being used as an area for casual drug use, cars racing around the car park at all hours and I have myself witnessed drunken behaviour including revellers defecating and urinating in the alleyways around the site.

"But whilst this particular site is particularly badly hit, this isn’t limited to just one site, there is a wave of anti-social behaviour spreading like a virus through our community."

Mr Trickett said on Facebook that he had contacted police to highlight the car racing problem and asked what action they would take to address it.

His post attracted comments from frustrated members of the community, who are calling for urgent action.

One read: "The whole area is becoming a terrible place to live. Something really needs to change, before someone is seriously injured or killed."

Another added: "This village is becoming a joke youths out all night causing havoc riding motorbikes with no helmets, disrupting people's lives and scaring people into not wanting to even go to local shops."

A third said the problem was more widespread across the town, with bus shelters being damaged and stones being thrown at cars and properties among other problems.

It read: "The people of this town are terrified to leave their homes... Something needs to be done and urgently."

Inspector Paul Sullivan said they had increased patrols around Exchange Street after receiving reports of "distressing" behaviour.

He said officers had stopped and spoke with groups of youths seen in the area at night.

Insp Sullivan said: “We have received a positive response from the young people we have spoken with and will continue to monitor the area around Exchange Street and Home Bargains, increasing patrols when necessary.

“I must stress that we will not hesitate to act against anyone we witness carrying out the acts described which are absolutely unacceptable.

“The area is covered by CCTV so it will be possible to gather evidence of offenders to support seizing vehicles and prosecuting drivers in cases where they are seen carrying out anti-social acts in their cars."

Anyone with information about anti-social behaviour in the area is asked to call 101 or email pontefract@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk