Crime File: Street booze ban to tackle drunk gangs

A TOUGH new ban on street drinking is set to be introduced in the Burmantofts and Harehills areas of Leeds.

Police and council chiefs say the order banning drinking alcohol in public places in areas of North East Leeds will be introduced from Monday, January 17, in a bid to curb booze-related anti-social behaviour, which is blighting residents' lives.

The Designated Public Place Order gives police and council officials additional powers to confiscate alcohol and take action against those involved in anti-social drinking.

Among the areas covered by the order include the site surrounding St James Hospital; Beckett Street Cemetery; Harehills Lane; Harehills Recreation Ground; Harehills Cemetery and the A64 York Road between St Albans Road and Mabgate.

Over the last two weeks signs - funded by Leeds City Council - have been put up across the area which detail the new powers.

Insp Jackie Hawkes, who leads the Burmantofts and Richmond Hill Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Residents have raised concerns over groups of people drinking in local streets and

being an intimidating and anti-social element to those living and working across Burmantofts and Harehills.

Build

"This is something that ourselves and our partners in Leeds City Council will not tolerate.

"This is why we have worked together to introduce these new measures which place us in a strong position to tackle this issue and build on the work we already undertake in terms of seizing alcohol and patrolling our local communities.

Insp Hawkes added: "I would also like to reassure people that this is part of a long-term strategy between both ourselves and Leeds City Council aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour before it starts.

"We want to ensure that residents are not disturbed by those whose consumption of alcohol on local streets leads them to believe it's acceptable to intimidate and disturb those living and working in Burmantofts and Richmond Hill."

Last May a street drinking ban was introduced in the Killingbeck and Seacroft areas of Leeds.

Belt up or risk death warning from police

SHOCKING consequences of drivers not wearing seatbelts will be demonstrated in a West Yorkshire supermarket car park tomorrow.

Fire crews will be outside the Dewsbury Asda store on Mill Street West with a seatbelt 'sledge', which transports dummies along a short distance before coming to a sudden halt at around 30mph.

The demonstration was organised after a string of reports to police from members of the public concerned about rising numbers of drivers in the area not wearing seatbelts.

Steve Fealey, assistant district manager for Kirklees Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Seatbelts are provided for a specific reason, to save lives. I'd like to know why people choose not to wear them.

"Overcrowding of vehicles is also a concern as it puts the lives of all the occupants at risk by not permitting them to have a seatbelt each."

Insp Jenny Thompson, of Dewsbury Police, said: "The issue was raised at Partners and Communities Together meetings in the Dewsbury South area. We wanted to try and hammer home the message of just how important wearing a seatbelt is."

Burglars and car thieves targeting North Leeds

POLICE made dozens of arrests after targeting prolific criminals during a major operation to slash burglary and car-crime rates in North West Leeds.

Operation Agleam - launched in the run up to Christmas - saw 53 people arrested in Headingley, Hyde Park, Woodhouse, Bramley and Armley.

They were arrested for offences including robbery, burglary and theft from cars.

Officers compiled a list of the area's top 25 burglary suspects and 11 were later charged and convicted

Police across North West Leeds stopped and searched 159 people during the operation and made 121 "disruption" visits to known offenders' homes.

High visibility police patrols were stepped up in the areas and plain clothes officers were deployed.

Officers visited 3,891 houses to hand out crime prevention leaflets and spoke to residents at almost 200 properties they considered to be at high risk of burglary.

Victims

And burglary victims were visited by police who offered practical advice on how to prevent further break-ins

The operation – funded by city community safety partnership Safer Leeds - saw staff working together from North West Leeds Division's Integrated Offender Management Unit, Neighbourhood Policing Team, Roads Policing Unit and the Drugs and Offender Management Unit.

Det Insp Dave Westwood, of North West Leeds Division's Integrated Offender Management Unit, said: "Operation Agleam saw us mount a major pre-emptive strike against burglary and vehicle crime in the period leading up to Christmas, which can sometimes see an increase in these types of crime.

"By keeping constantly on the backs our most prolific offenders we were able to catch some in the act and deny others the opportunity to commit crime."

Insp Westwood added: "It's genuinely satisfying that the combined efforts of the specialist teams and partner agencies involved in this operation saw a reduction in the number of burglaries.

"A big part of that was down to people listening to our advice to make their homes more secure.

"It was reassuring that as the operation went along we found less and less homes being left vulnerable.

"We would encourage people to keep heeding that advice while we continue to do all we can to keep the pressure on the criminals."

Police say there were 55 less burglaries in North West Leeds during Operation Agleam compared with the same period in 2009.

Anyone with information which may help West Yorkshire Police in their fight against burglary and car crime in North West Leeds, should call 0845 6060606.

Or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously and in confidence, on 0800 555111.

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