Gangs of youths have been terrorising delivery drivers and traders in Workington town centre, it has been revealed.
Police have been called to reports of delivery drivers being spat at and intimidated with sticks, their vehicles being kicked, windows being smashed and back doors being kicked in, around the back lanes off Murray Road.
In one instance, a youth threw a wooden pallet at a shop worker and in another a can of lager was thrown at a person’s head by a gang of boys.
Other reported incidents include youths overturning bins, throwing rubbish around and starting fires, drinking and smoking, kicking footballs at passing vehicles and against buildings, and spraying graffiti.
To tackle the anti-social behaviour – recorded over the last three years – Workington Town Council has applied to Allerdale council for gates to be installed at either end of the back lane that runs from Murray Road, next to Subway, to Upton Street, next to Argos.
A legal order would ban the public from accessing the lane when the gates were shut and people could be fined up to £1,000 if found breaching the ban.
The gates, which would be up to 10ft, have been designed by Workington Rotary Club, which would adopt the gates and take care of their maintenance.
They would be made and installed by apprentices at Shepley Engineering.
The initiative is being jointly led by the Rotary club and Cumbria police and the councils are committed to put £2,500 each towards the cost.
Shopkeepers would be in charge of opening the gates in the morning and closing them at night to prevent youths from gathering there.
The proposal came after an emergency meeting was called by PC Lorraine Murphy, of the police’s problem solving team, in October 2015 to address the increasing problems in the town centre.
The plans will be discussed by Allerdale council’s executive on Wednesday, when councillors are expected to agree a public consultation on the planned gates.
Graeme Cameron, who runs Sole It Lock It on Murray Road, said he was pleased to see progress being made at last.
He added: “It’s about 15 years it’s been going on but the last three or four years it’s been a lot worse.
“My windows have been put out so I’ve had to replace them. I do think it’ll be a good thing as long as we all have keys and we can open and close them. I do understand it’s a right of way but if the gates are on the council can actually make it look a bit more respectable and clean it up a bit.