Police exclusion zone in Burley Park due to masked youths shooting fireworks at 999 workers and barricading roads
Barricaded roads, fireworks being shot at people and masked youths leaving residents afraid to go out after dark has led police to issue an exclusion zone in Burley Park.
West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council have gained an injunction to tackle firework-related anti-social behaviour that has plagued the Burley Park area of Leeds.
Groups of up to 50 youths have previously congregated in ‘The Kelsalls’ area of Burley to let off fireworks indiscriminately. They will now face arrest under the new injunction, which creates an exclusion zone around the area.
Over Halloween and Bonfire Night periods, residents of the area bordered by Alexandra Road and Burley Lodge Road, have reported fireworks aimed at people, homes, cars and the emergency services. The area has been described as “like a firework factory going up”, with residents feeling too intimidated to leave their homes after dark.
Between September and December 2018, nearly a third of the 151 calls made to the police in this area related to firework-related nuisance in the streets and park. Incidents have included barricaded roads, fireworks launched along the ground at people and vehicles, and the anti-social use of motorbikes and cars.
Police and council teams, including the local neighbourhood policing team and officers from Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team, worked closely in partnership to combat these issues.
What the injunction will exclude people from doing inside the park - or risk arrest.
Being in possession of any firework or other explosive or pyrotechnic material in public.
Disguising their identity with items such as masks for scarves
Congregating in a group of three or more and engaging in behaviour that causes nuisance to residents.
Behaving in a manner that is threatening or abusive to any other person engaged in lawful behaviour in public.
These restrictions are backed by a power of arrest.
Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We welcome this injunction which gives us additional powers to combat the nuisance firework-related anti-social behaviour that has previously been experienced by residents of this particular area of Burley.
“I hope that those living in the area are reassured that the council and police are taking their concerns seriously and taking action to prevent incidents before they occur.
“Under this injunction, there is a complete ban on anyone being in possession of any fireworks, covering their faces or congregating in groups and engaging in nuisance, threatening or abusive behaviour in the Kelsalls area. We hope that this will deter people from engaging in these actions but if individuals do contravene this injunction, rest assured we will take swift and positive action.”
Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour within our communities on Bonfire Night or any other occasion.
"Leeds City Council takes every possible measure to tackle this type of issue, and our council teams have worked closely with police to resolve these issues in Burley Park.”