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Teens arrested over assault and theft as town bemoans loss of PCSOs

PUBLISHED: 12:51 07 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:04 07 February 2020

The linkway between Tesco and Sheringham town centre, where a man was assaulted by young people at the weekend. 
Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The linkway between Tesco and Sheringham town centre, where a man was assaulted by young people at the weekend. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Police have arrested two teenagers on suspicion of assault, public order and theft, following an incident which saw a man in his sixties assaulted.

North Norfolk district councillor Liz Withington, who has called for a return to community policing to address problems of anti-social behaviour in Sheringham.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLNorth Norfolk district councillor Liz Withington, who has called for a return to community policing to address problems of anti-social behaviour in Sheringham. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The pair, who have been known to police for some time, have been questioned and released under investigation while enquiries continue into the incident in Sheringham.

The arrests have been welcomed by residents concerned by a recent spate of anti-social behaviour incidents in the town, including damage to eight cars for which a teenage boy received a conditional caution, a girl received a youth caution and a second girl was charged to court for seven offences of criminal damage and one offence of attempted criminal damage.

An 82-year-old man was also assaulted in a dispute with young people at St Mary's Priory.

North Norfolk district councillor for Sheringham north, Liz Withington, said it is was important to remember that the majority of local young people were "polite, respectful and considerate".

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"Police have been working hard with the young people involved and their parents, and anti-social behaviour has been continued as a priority for the Safer Neighbourhood Team," she said.

"There has been an emphasis on making sure the young people responsible are held to account, but what is also important is to work with multi agencies to prevent the spread of this type of behaviour across other groups."

Mrs Withington added that, with the support of local police, Sheringham's three district councillors would be writing to Norfolk Constabulary chief constable Simon Bailey and police and crime commissioner Lorne Green to ask what action they intended to take to address an "unacceptable situation".

She called for a return of 'community policing' and bemoaned the loss of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), 150 of whom were axed across the county in 2018.

The changes were introduced to address cuts to the force's budget, as well as technological advances and a rise in reports of serious crimes.

"Sadly, my personal view is that it is the loss of our PCSOs as part of a brilliant community police team that has contributed to the spread of this type of behaviour," she said.

"Despite admirable efforts by our local police beat manager, the loss of a team working from within the heart of the community has been very much felt."

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