Lager louts loitering in the street, making noise, threatening abuse and snorting substances, are ruining Leighton’s image according to worried business owners.
One beautician recently moved her business away from North Street due to persistent anti-social behaviour.
She said: “My staff were constantly having to ask the homeless drunks to move off our doorstep, usually on a daily basis.
“Sometimes they would have fights and we would call 101, other times there were large groups of them sitting right outside the shop. Although they weren’t aggressive, it was very intimidating for our clients and our staff.”
In addition, the woman said her staff regularly spotted drug dealing in North Street and groups of boys shoplifting.
Her views were backed by a property landlord who claimed several of his tenants had quit their premises due to anti-social behaviour problems. He said: “I visited the town last Thursday. In North Street, these drunks were loud and aggressive.
“Indeed they even shouted at me to cross to their side so they could smash my f***ing head in.”
Sniffing substances in the street is also a common problem and the landlord described glue being smeared over a shop front, which tenants were unable to remove completely.
Now he is calling on Beds Police to take action. He has been supported by town councillor Clive Palmer, who called the situation “indefensible”, as well as MP Andrew Selous who has been in frequent contact with Beds Police.
Police responsiblity for tackling anti-social behaviour in Leighton Buzzard falls under Op Sentinel. Its leader Sgt Louise Bates told the LBO: “We are aware of the issues around anti-social behaviour in the Leighton Buzzard area, specifically around the town centre. As such, we will be increasing our visibility in the area in a high visibility patrols capacity.
“This is an issue that requires a multi-agency approach to resolve and as such we are in consultation with our partners at the council as well as education and housing to see if we are able to find a more appropriate place for the youths to go that does not have such an impact on the residents and business owners in the town centre.”
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