Sunderland businesses ban school pupils from premises

The parade of shops at Woolwich Close, Witherwack, and one of the signs regarding local schoolchildren.
The parade of shops at Woolwich Close, Witherwack, and one of the signs regarding local schoolchildren.
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TEENAGE troublemakers have been banned from shops after causing disruption on their way to school.

Since the start of the current academic year in September, officers have received numerous reports of antisocial behaviour outside Witherwack shops.

Most cases have taken place before the start of the school day, and now shopkeepers have decided not to allow young people onto their premises between 8am and 9am.

Police posters will also be on show in shops stating that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and officers are set to step up their patrols.

Nirmal Kaur Mann, of Mann Stores, said the disruption is hitting business.

“This ongoing issue of antisocial behaviour involving school children has been causing disruption to the community and local businesses,” he said. “I’ve taken the decision to not serve children prior to school and appreciate the support of the local neighbourhood policing team in tackling this issue.”

The activity forms part of the Northumbria Police campaign Report It To Sort It, as well as the Association of Chief Police Officers’ week of action to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Sgt David Cole, of Witherwack’s neighbourhood police team, said the bad behaviour is a serious issue for police.

“We were made aware of these issues by the local shops and were obviously keen to work with them to prevent any incidents of anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“While the young people may not think they’re causing a problem, because they are all descending on the shops at the same time and also hanging round in large groups outside, this can intimidate those working in them, as well as customers wanting to use them and anyone living in the vicinity.

“We will patrol the area and speak to young people to advise them about their behaviour and urge them to consider how it’s affecting others, so we can help improve the quality of life for those working and living in the area.”

Police and crime commissioner Vera Baird has backed the campaign as curbing antisocial behaviour is one of her stated priorities.