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Friday, May 14, 2021

Cricket club falls victim to anti-social behaviour

Pot-smoking teenagers have been vomiting and leaving broken bottles of vodka at Alsager Cricket Club, which will now have to install cctv.

Police have been patrolling the Fairview Avenue ground since the club reported damage to fencing, while chairs have also been broken.

Cricket club chair Alan Stancliffe said the problem had escalated in the last month and was getting “beyond a joke”.

Separately, a teenager was detained on suspicion of a public order offence after officers were called to Alsager Sports Hub, on Dunnocksfold Road, on Friday evening.

It followed reports of young people being threatened with knives or assaulted. One post on social media claimed that “a group of lads with knives have approached a women, wanting her dog, sports hub Alsager”.

However while officers dispersed a number of young people from the area police said no complaints had been made and that “no knives were apparent at the scene”.

Within hours of the police being called to the sports hub, which officers patrol regularly due to concerns about anti-social behaviour, a new private group on social media had been set up called Alsager Watch which described itself as “looking out for Alsager and the local community. Cctv reporting issues and getting a response from the community”.

In a statement after officers were called to the sports hub on Friday, PC Kerrie Cummings said: “At the weekend, we addressed the issue with a dispersal notice which was in place for 48 hours. We know this is not the first time there have been complaints of anti-social behaviour there and we have been patrolling in the area regularly to tackle the issue.

“We have also been working closely with the sports hub management to find a long-term resolution to the issue of young people gathering and causing a disturbance to residents in the area.”

PC Cummings’s message to Alsager residents was: “Please continue to report anti-social behaviour so that we can respond appropriately and if anyone was threatened with a knife or assaulted on the Friday night they should report to police on 101.”

Alan Stancliffe, chair of Alsager Cricket Club, explained that the club house has a balcony that looks out onto the pitch, which is sheltered and that people use it in the winter to have a smoke “which was fine”.

“But since last month more groups of lads and girls have been going down there smoking and taking pot,” he said.

“There’s drug use down there and on some nights they are leaving take-away litter and bottles; just leaving a mess, really.”

Mr Stancliffe added: “In the last couple of weeks fencing and chairs have been broken. We thought at that point enough is enough. It’s a ridiculous situation. When I went down there, there was vomit and broken vodka bottles. It’s been disheartening.

You are spending the first half hour of the day cleaning up after others.

“What they are doing is causing minimal damage, really, but it’s something that needs cleaning up. We reported what was happening after three or four mornings of finding the mess left at the ground. That’s when it got ridiculous and was beyond a joke.”

He said he believed the culprits are aged 16 to 18, adding: “We’ve given the names of six/seven lads to the PCSOs and we are looking to install cctv. We will have to, but it’s just more expense for the club when you don’t need it.

“We are hoping things will improve when the season starts in a couple of weeks.

There will be a lot more activity down there, which will be a bigger deterrent.”

The cricket season starts on Saturday, 24th April, and the club has a friendly the week before.

“The juniors start next Tuesday so there will be around 100 people down for that so it will be fairly busy,” the chair added.

Anyone with information about the anti-social activities at the hub should call Cheshire police on 101 or visit the force website quoting IML 954209. Alternatively, information can be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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