A SPIKE is anti-social behaviour in Mossley has resulted in decisive action from the police.
Five youths have been given contracts – a kind of anti-social behaviour order – and they are banned from congregating around various shops in the town.
And a man will stand trial in the new year after being charged with racially-aggravated offences at a store.
Craig Kelly, 35, of Dean Street, Ashton, has been released on bail until January 24, when he will appear at Tameside Magistrates Court charged with charged with racially-aggravated common assault, racially-aggravated Public Order (4a) and theft.
Police are also to carry out an anti-social behaviour patrol when officers will be joined by Stuart Marshall, headteacher at Mossley Hollins High School, and officials from housing group Jigsaw.
PC Martin Dench explained police had done a lot of work on the “core group” which had been causing trouble in the town.
He said: “Five youths have been brought into the police station and issues with what are mini ASBOs.
“We have made it clear to them bad behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Worried shopkeepers and residents called for action after attending a recent meeting of Mossley Town Council.
And as a direct result of the meeting a WhatsApp group for shopkeepers has been set up which can help alert group members about incidents.
In an at times feisty meeting, they reported an assault on one trader, others feeling intimidated by groups of teenagers who congregate in both Top and Bottom Mossley at night while shoplifting has also been on the rise.
Town councillor Stephen Homer told the meeting: “There has been a spike in anti-social behaviour and thefts.
“I know of a business that has been opened 38 years and the owner is terrified to go into work.
“There was somebody else who recently told he felt like shutting up shop because of the trouble he had faced.
“It won’t stop until we make a noise. We need more patrols and presence from the police, especially in the evenings.”
Cllr Homer added police have had “some successes” dealing with the problems.
But there was disappointment there was not a police presence at the town council meeting after it was revealed they had been invited.
Cllr Homer added it is important that shopkeepers report incidents, even though there are still major issues with the 101 telephone call line.
“If they don’t report it, it statistically shows there is not a problem when there is,” he said.
It was Cllr Homer who offered shopkeepers help in setting up a WhatsApp group so they can alert one another over.
He said: “We can keep lobbying the police for more patrols, but a business watch scheme is simple in which they all register as one WhatsApp group.
“If somebody gets a dodgy £10 or there is an incident in a pub, the message can be put out in seconds to alert everybody.”
It was disclosed that when there was previous anti-social behaviour about three years ago Mossley Hollins High School headteacher Stuart Marshall went out with police patrols which proved effective.
“It made a difference and showed they were serious in tackling the problem,” explained one shopkeeper who added it was a cycle with history repeating itself.
Cllr Frank Travis, Mossley Town Council chair, added it is important to keep CCTV footage of incidents.
He suggested shopkeepers should write to the police superintendent or inspector to request a meeting.
“It is a serious situation and people’s livelihoods are at stake. If shopkeepers feel threatened they always have the option of dialling 999,” explained Cllr Travis who thanked all those who have stood up and confronted the troublemakers.