Anger as children 'run amok' on Walsall estate despite social distancing rules
A group of anti-social youths have been making the lives of residents on a Walsall estate a misery during the coronavirus lockdown.
Local people said a number of children have reduced some elderly people to tears by abusing them and “running amok” through the Beechdale estate.
They are often seen congregating in the area, particularly around Jenner Road and Jenner Close, ignoring the social distancing rules brought in to combat the spread of Covid-19.
The whole estate is subject to a public spaces protection order until 2022 which is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and prohibiting a range of offences that negatively impact on residents’ lives.
Anyone in breach of the order could be subjected to £100 fixed penalty notices or even taken to court.
Walsall Council said that due to restrictions as a result of the virus patrols are being restricted on the estate. However police have been given powers to enforce social distancing measures to tackle problematic behaviour.
A resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “In the past few days, there have been a group of children running amok and terrorising old people here.
“I am really at the end of my tether. We have had problems before but now that the kids are all off school, it is getting worse and my anxiety is increasing.
“Where are the parents of these children at this time?”
Ward councillor Lee Jeavons said his colleague Tina Jukes received a call off a resident in tears over the issue.
He said: “We are aware of anti-social behaviour in the area, myself and Tina Jukes have contacted the council and tweeted the police asking for action.
“It really is getting bad down there. Somebody needs to do something.
“I can also tell you that there is no social distancing going on. That’s the last thing on their minds.
“It’s especially important, given the current circumstances, that parents know where their children are at this time.”
A Walsall Council spokesman said: “The restrictions on work activities caused by the coronavirus outbreak have meant that the council has to modify the way in which it works, which includes restricting the patrols which it carried out to enforce the PSPO on the Beechdale.
“Walsall Council recognises that compliance with the measures recently brought into place by the government, including those on staying at home and restricting gatherings in public, are important.
“These measures have now been enacted by legislation and the responsibility for enforcement of these rests with West Midlands Police.”
On their website, West Midlands Police said police officers and PCSOs will be visible in communities to enforce social distancing, initially advising before moving onto enforcement.
It said: “We are already receiving many calls on potential breaches of the new restrictions. You can advise us if there are large numbers of people congregating somewhere on 101.
“We would ask you to trust that we will target the most problematic behaviour. This will only work if people make sensible choices and observe what they are being told.”