The Pokémon craze is ‘all-Go’ in Hartlepool.
Footfall has increased on the Headland in recent days as people of all ages hunt down the colourful cartoon characters.
The new Pokémon Go game lets people capture the creatures they find in real-life settings – and it seems the Headland is a hive of activity.
The game has been hailed by some for getting kids out of the house and walking around, interacting with people, while others have expressed safety fears of children walking out in front of cars or over the top of cliffs in their bid to ‘catch ‘em all’.
The app has also created controversy over some of the ‘inappropriate’ spots the Pokémon are populating, such as cemeteries.
In Hartlepool, it’s been met with a mixed response by councillors.
Coun Shane Moore, a UKIP representative for the Headland & Harbour ward, said: “I don’t really have any safety concerns about it, except for things I’m hearing about people playing it while they’re driving which obviously isn’t safe at all.
“But overall I think that it’s great. There’s a lot more people getting out and about on the Headland and it’s nice to see people sat outside using the green space.
“It’s great for the businesses as well – there are a lot more people going in the fish shops on a night time.”
However, Coun Moore is concerned about people leaving the area a mess.
He added: “I did notice the other day that there was a lot of litter around St Hilda’s Church. It’s great that people are getting out and about and meeting up to play the game, but I would ask that they respect the area and clean up after themselves – please don’t drop litter.”
Coun Moore even has the game himself and plans on catching Pokémon with his eight-year-old son, Henry.
He said: “I’ve downloaded it so that I can go out with my son during the summer holidays to play together. I think it’s a great idea.”
Coun Sylvia Tempest, a Labour representative for the ward, has some concerns around the game.
She said: “I have noticed a lot more people around the Headland recently and didn’t know why at first.
“I have read some things about the Pokémon popping up in inappropriate places, such as cemeteries and the Holocaust Memorial Museum and I think that people playing the game just need to think about where they are and be respectful.
“I also worry about safety. A lot of the roads around this area are very narrow, and although there’s a 20mph speed limit, cars do sometimes drive down the streets very quickly, and if people are concentrating on their phones, there could be an accident.
“A lot of elderly people live around here as well, who may feel unsafe or intimidated if they see a big group of youths hanging around outside their home.
“It’s great if people want to play it, but I just hope that they are respectful to people living in the area and are careful about where they’re going.
“We don’t want anyone getting hurt.”