DRUNK yobs and drug users are turning Roker Pier into a no-go zone.
Now police say they are determined to take action against the troublemakers in a bid to reclaim the pier for the public.
Officers have received a string of complaints about disorder and antisocial behaviour at the end of the landmark, including drinking and drug use.
Jeff Morton, 42, of Roker, who regularly walks his dog along the pier, said: “It’s been a problem for a while and it makes you avoid that part of the pier, to be honest.
“It’s a shame because it’s such a nice place to walk along, particularly in the evening.”
Due to the location of the yobs, it was often hard to police the pier. However, officers have now been given keys to the gates in order to gain access at nights.
New signs will also be going up, warning any potential troublemakers about the new patrols.
The move coincides with Sunderland City Council’s £1.35million work which aims to restore the 110-year-old pier back to its former glory.
Inspector Dave Cole, from Northumbria Police, said: “The pier has previously been a difficult place for us to police. But now we have vehicle access, we will be carrying out regular patrols to deter and target offenders.
“Anyone breaking the law will be dealt with appropriately.
“The new signs should also serve as a warning that we will be paying a lot of attention to the pier.
“These patrols are a direct response to complaints from members of the public, and I hope they’re reassured by the action we’re taking at the pier.
“It’s also important we do what we can to combat any incidents of antisocial behaviour, with work ongoing to restore the pier and make it an enjoyable place for everyone to visit.”
Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council and chairman of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, said: “Roker Pier is a much-loved local landmark for everyone to enjoy and we don’t want the antisocial behaviour of a mindless few spoiling it for everyone else.
“Restoration work is currently underway on the pier, which provides us with the perfect opportunity to put up these new signs.
“We’re asking for people to help us by reporting any concerns they may have so we can work together to take the appropriate action.”
People can contact police on 101, extension 69191.