Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caught on Camera

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Caught on Camera

Article excerpt

Byline: By Dave Black

Young troublemakers said to be plaguing an upmarket North-East village now face having their bad behaviour caught on camera ( thanks to a pounds 40,000 CCTV system.

Gangs of rowdy youths ( many of them coming in from Newcastle ( have been causing alcohol-fuelled problems in Ponteland, Northumberland for more than a year.

Police launched a recent crackdown against groups of up to 50 young people who were gathering in shopping areas, parks and near schools ( causing damage, making a nuisance of themselves and intimidating and abusing shop staff and passers-by.

On one weekend last month, six youths were arrested for drink-related offences including drink driving, being drunk and disorderly and breach of the peace.

Police officers also seized and disposed of a large quantity of alcohol after a gang of troublemakers ran off when police arrived in the Broadway area of Darras Hall.

Now four CCTV cameras have been installed to cover the village's Broadway and Merton Way shopping centres and a fifth is waiting to be added at a further, yet-to-be-decided location where locals feel problems are happening.

The pounds 40,000 system has been paid for by local councillors Richard Dodd and Stuart Oliver, using special annual allowances they are given by Northumberland County Council to fund useful projects in their areas.

It has been warmly welcomed by Ponteland Parish Council, local traders and the police who hope the cameras will help prosecute offenders and deter young troublemakers, vandals and graffiti artists from misbehaving.

Police claimed recently that some of the youths involved in the incidents are being driven to Ponteland from Newcastle by their parents and dropped off on Friday and Saturday nights to meet up with village teenagers, drink and cause trouble.

Yesterday Coun Dodd said: "I have been working on this project for two years and now that the cameras have finally been installed I am already being told by local businesses that their presence is having an impact. …

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