Vandals cut down CCTV camera on Doncaster estate

A lamp post has been cut down on Scholfield Street, Mexborough which has CCTV installed on it.

It was put in place to keep an eye on a Doncaster antisocial behaviour hotspot.

But last month, the closed circuit television camera set up at Schofield Street in Mexborough was itself the target for yobs, when it was sawn down.

The post came down, falling on top of a roof and causing damage to the nearby property.

For Insp Dan McKnight, in charge of community policing in Doncaster West it shows the level of behaviour that police are having to deal with in the area - and now more officers are being put into the area to deal with the issues it is facing.

Mexborough is one of a number of areas in the Doncaster West policing area with issues of antisocial behaviour. Problems have also been reported in Conisbrough and Edlington.

Last week, Conisbrough hit the headlines when two 15-year-old boys were attacked by a gang of youngsters believed to be from a school. Police think the pupils had been mistaken for youngsters from another school. They were stabbed and attacked with baseball bats. Earlier in the month a 37-year-old man was attacked after leaving a shop in Church Street, Conisbrough, by a group of about eight boys, thought to be aged between 14 and 17.

The recent issues in Conisbrough has prompted specific action from police.

Insp McKnight said: "I can confirm that we have increased our policing presence in the area in order to combat this criminality and reassure the public and local community. We are also working with the local school in terms of education for the children regarding crime and consequences. Regarding the recent stabbing an investigation is ongoing and I am unable to comment any further at this stage."

Edlington has also seen issues, which culminated last year the introduction of new rules on private rented housing to force landlords to act to deal with nuisance tenants

Before the recent incident in Conisbrough, Doncaster West had actually seen a fall in cases of antisocial behaviour in recent months, according to officers, after significant issues in Edlington were dealt with, although there was a blip in the run-up to bonfire night. Similarly, burglary levels have been low, and a feared rise over the Christmas period did not appear.

Insp McKnight does not believe the issues have gone away.

He said: "We're under no illusion that that everything that happens gets reported, but having an increased presence seems to have made a difference." New community meetings have been introduced to try to make it easier for people to raise issues.

There have also been successful operations run. Officers have carried out seven successful raids over drugs in the Mexborough, Conisbrough and Denaby area over the last six weeks with seven people being detained by officers.

But officers are concerned that the action they have been taking in the centre of towns and villages like Mexborough and Conisbrough can cause problems to be displaced to other parts of those towns.

"Our goal is to eliminate antisocial behaviour, and we do the best we can to deal with it when it crops up," Insp McKnight said:

"We've done a lot of work in Conisbrough to tackle what's happening there. It's been based around the town centre, although some has been displaced.

"We had been seeing large congregations of young people, and nuisance cars speeding around, and nuisance bikers."

Officers had seized nuisance bikes, and also targeted large groups which had been gathering around Old Road and Church Street in the centre of the village.

"We have done a lot of work with other parties to deal with the large gatherings," he said. "For instance we worked with Sainsburys to limit access to their car park. And we also put in place dispersal orders under section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, for 48 hour periods. In terms of how things improved that was part of a broader package.

"But dealing the issues is as much about diversion as enforcement, and EPIC, which provides activities for young people has worked in Conisbrough."

Supt Neil Thomas said more officers have been put into Doncaster West to provide extra reassurance to the public.

He said: "We have put another sergeant and seven PCs, a second team doing proactive work in the west of Doncaster.

"Of all the three areas of Doncaster, Doncaster West has seen the biggest demand and this is to give extra reassurance."

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