Derbyshire kids’ club may close after police turn ‘blind eye’ to cannabis use

Coun. Barry Barnes outside the Stonebroom Youth Club.

Coun. Barry Barnes outside the Stonebroom Youth Club.

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A popular Derbyshire youth club is in danger of closing after its pleas to the police about cannabis went unheeded.

The Pavilion youth club in Stonebroom has been plagued by the drug in recent weeks after a group of children began smoking it nearby.

Coun. Barry Barnes outside the Stonebroom Youth Club.

Coun. Barry Barnes outside the Stonebroom Youth Club.

The teenagers - all of whom used to attend the club - have even tried to entice other children into taking it including some with learning difficulties.

The organiser of the club, district and parish councillor Barry Barnes, said: “If this continues we will have no option to close the youth club to protect younger children as well as to ensure the volunteer’s and council staff’s safety.

“We’ve now managed to move the group on from behind the club but they are now congregating on the doctors’ surgery car park so it is still an issue for the children when they come and go.”

Coun Barnes says the police response to the problem so far has been nothing short of ‘disastrous’.

Stonebroom Youth Club.

Stonebroom Youth Club.

He said: “One on occasion I called 101 but no one got back to me for three hours. Another time I tried 999 no one turned up at all.

“I think police are turning a blind eye to cannabis and this is the result.”

Coun Barnes said officers used to engage with the parish council but this has ‘diminished’ in recent years.

He even raised his concerns with Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner at a recent meeting but has yet to hear anything back.

“The police seem to be becoming invisible in this area,” he said.

“They have stopped coming to parish council meetings and the neighbourhood watch meetings look like they might have to stop because the police never attend. “I feel the community is being failed by the police so they are just going to stop working with them.”

In the meantime, Coun Barnes says the council hopes to work with Rykneld Homes and the district council’s anti-social behaviour department to try and improve the situation.

A spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: “Officers from Clay Cross Safer Neighbourhood Team have been working with local councillors and staff at the youth club to tackle issues that have been reported to police regarding anti-social behaviour at the club.”

“PC David Price arranged a meeting with a local councillor that was due to take place on Sunday October 16.”