'Zero-tolerance' pledge against anti-social behaviour in Hetton and Houghton as police stop 26 youths in one day

Teenage tearaways who torment their communities have been warned they could face time behind bars if their anti-social behaviour does not stop.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 9:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 7:17 pm

That’s the message from Northumbria Police's Inspector Nick Gjorven, who is leading the charge on Operation Avalanche – a dedicated plan to stamp out anti-social behaviour in Hetton and Houghton.

Launched over the weekend in response to residents’ concerns about the behaviour of some youngsters in the area, the operation saw police stop 26 young people on the first day of action.

Three dispersal notices were also issued on Saturday, January 18 and a 15-year-old teenager was detained and reported for public order offences.

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PCSO Louise Robinson and Sergeant Simon Marshall on patrol.
PCSO Louise Robinson and Sergeant Simon Marshall on patrol.

The force’s zero-tolerance approach against anti-social behaviour complaints, including lead thefts and wheelie bin fires in the area, will continue going forward.

Insp Gjorven said: “We have launched this operation in direct response to concerns raised by members of our community – be assured that you have been heard, and we will take action.

“The aim of Operation Avalanche is to tackle those issues head-on, reassure the community, and crucially make sure anybody responsible for these offences are brought to justice.

“While we acknowledge anti-social behaviour is caused by a minority of individuals, their action can have a corrosive and long-lasting effect on our community who can be made to feel frightened, intimidated and exasperated. Our message is simple - enough is enough.”

Residents living in the area had raised concerns.

Supported by Sunderland City Council, the initiative will also see officers visit local schools and make home visits to suspected offenders and their parents to ensure the force’s message is being heard loud and clear.

A mobile police station was put up in Hetton on Sunday, January 19 and will remain in place throughout this week, with an open invite to members of the public to drop in and chat to their neighbourhood police team.

Officers have also planned a Partners & Communities Together meeting on Tuesday, February 5 at Hetton & District WMC at 6pm.

Insp Gjorven has also urged the community to report any anti-social behaviour they see to the force – and reassured families that there will be an increased police presence in Hetton and Houghton over the coming weeks.

Inspector Nick Gjorven (front) is spearheading Operation Avalanche in Hetton and Houghton.

Councillor Michael Mordey, chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, has warned that anti-social behaviour and criminal acts “are not tolerated” on Wearside.

He added: “If you see anyone, anywhere committing or threatening to commit criminal acts or behaving anti-socially they must be reported.

“Action is being taken to identify those responsible and ensure they are held to account.”

The operation was launched on Saturday, January 18.