Steering youngsters away from underage drinking, drug misuse and anti-social behaviour is high on the agenda for Clitheroe Police.
Police are working in conjunction with Ribble Valley Borough Council to provide an effective deterrent against gangs of youth loitering around the town’s Castle Keep and its grounds during the summer months, which could prove intimidating for passer-bys.
Officers are set to increase patrols in and around the castle area during periods of good weather and key holiday dates, which historically have seen a rise in crime.
Sgt Dave Simpson, of Clitheroe Police, said their aim was not to stop anyone – including young people – from enjoying the castle grounds, but they are prepared to deal with anyone caught breaking the law.
He explained: “The police are aware that during the summer months the castle grounds receive a greater number of calls with regard to anti-social behaviour, minor damage and drugs misuse.
“To combat this we increase our patrols and utilise the town’s CCTV, which affords good coverage of the grounds.
“We are also working in partnership to provide diversionary tactics aimed at youths who frequent the grounds.
“Last month local police officers conducted patrols on a Friday evening one of which utilised the services of a drugs detection dog which apprehended three local youths in possession of drugs for personal use.”
Dilys Day, the borough council’s community safety partnership officer, said: “Anti-social behaviour in Clitheroe over the summer months is not something we are ignoring.
“We are acknowledging the issue and are working in conjunction with Burnley Football Club organising football sessions in the castle grounds for Valley youngsters.
“We are working with the local Children and Wellbeing Service and The Zone, to provide various fun activities for young people of the town to enjoy.”
She added: “Yes, youth crime associated problems do escalate over the summer months when its warm and light.
“We are aware of it, but we also need to remind people that the Ribble Valley does have a very low crime rate and is one of the safest places in Lancashire and behind the scenes a great deal of hard work is going on to ensure it remains so.”