Calls to pull down a youth shelter to deter gangs of yobs causing ‘mayhem’ in Inkersall will only make matters worse, says a former Chesterfield Borough councillor.
It is the latest stand taken by Mick Bagshaw, who has been battling the area’s anti-social behaviour problem for more than two decades - and seen threats of violence as well as £3,400 worth of criminal damage to his car as a result.
As a councillor in the early 2000s, Mick campaigned for the installation of the shelter, on Summerskill Green, to coax nuisance youths away from the shops.
“I remember it had become so bad that pensioners were too terror-stricken to go out and fetch a pint of milk,” said Mick.
“And I get it- when we were kids, we’d meet at the shops, because that’s just what you did.
“But we didn’t behave like them.
“The shelter got the kids away from the shops but the anti-social behaviour remains, and it’s progressively become worse and worse.
“They’re pushing emergency stops on buses to turn the engines off when they’re standing stationary at stops and throwing stones at cars.
“You’d think I was talking about Beirut, not Inkersall.
“The question I want to put to parents is - do you know where your kids are and what they’re up to?”
Calls from some residents to remove the shelter ‘because it only attracts trouble’ have been slammed by Mick, who believes increased police presence in Inkersall is the only solution.
“The yobs will congregate wherever,” he said.
“Take the shelter away and they will still be hanging about.
“I was a special for seven years so I know my way around this kind of issue.
“The kids think they can get away with causing trouble because there aren’t any Bobbies around anymore.”
Temporary sergeant Kelly Brown, of Derbyshire Police, said: “We are aware of concerns about anti-social behaviour in the Inkersall area and regular police patrols are carried out.
“We will take positive action to target anti-social behaviour where appropriate.
“Sometimes we find that anti-social behaviour can go unreported, with people choosing to post to social media groups instead of calling the police.
“We would urge people to report instances to us so that we can build up a picture of any issues and assess the situation, which can allow us to adopt further measures if necessary and also work alongside partnership agencies to consider longer term solutions.
“Parents can also pay a part to help us address concerns around lower level anti-social behaviour involving young people, by keeping a check on where their children are during the evenings, making sure they are aware of the issues and reminding them of the consequences of getting involved in anti-social behaviour.”