YOUNGSTERS destroying flowers, pouring drinks on graves and abusing staff have been targeted in a police crackdown on anti-social behaviour at Bridlington Cemetery.
The children, thought to be mostly students from nearby Headlands School, are being warned about their behaviour and the distress they are causing to residents close to the cemetery on Sewerby Road.
The town’s PCSOs have identified the problem as a priority and are actively working with the school and parents to put a stop to it.
Police have increased their presence in the area at the start and end of the school day and have already given talks to Year 7 and 8 pupils warning them of the consequences of any bad behaviour.
Headlands School and the police have also been informed of young people blocking the locks on the cemetery gates, shouting abuse at staff and throwing stones at windows on the way to and – continued on Page 3
Michelle Collinson, who lives near the cemetery, said: “The kids are kicking flowers and being horrible. I don’t think they care what distress they are causing.
“If I had been behaving like that when I was a kid, my mum would have kicked my backside.
“Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing, and should be made to pay for any damage their kids have done.”
Anti-social behaviour has not just been confined to the cemetery, with police receiving reports of stickers being placed over car number plates, stones thrown at houses and wheelie bins being knocked over on Sewerby and Eastfield Road.
PCSO Andrea Humphrey from Bridlington’s police team said: “We are telling parents to have a word with their children to warn them against such activities.
“We want to nip this in the bud and have already spoken to a number of individual students at Headlands regarding the problems.
“Young people engaging in these activities should know that they are not invisible.”
PCSO Gerald Quinn added: “It’s a minority of kids that are causing problems and a great deal of their peers have been shocked when we told them what’s been going on.
“In many cases it is just small annoying things the children are getting up to, but in a cemetery those things can cause a lot of distress.”
PCSO Humphrey said the neighbourhood police team want to work with Headlands to stop the problems and would prefer to educate children rather then picking on them.
However the police were prepared to send fairway letters to parents and even get children to sign behaviour contracts if they are caught causing problems.
The team will also be actively working with members of the public to identify possible offenders.
John Skidmore, head of streetscene services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The council is not aware of any new issues causing concern, but would stress that the cemetery is a special place and should be treated as such out of respect for the feelings of the bereaved.
“We shall of course continue to work with the police on anti-social behaviour and any other matters as appropriate.”