‘Wildlife killings, abuse and stone throwing’ sparks new protection order in Newark

Police and the council are cracking down on anti-social behaviour after “heartless wildlife killings, verbal abuse, spitting and stone throwing”.

The problems in the Newark and Balderton area of Nottinghamshire have sparked a new Public Space Protection order being issued.

Newark and Sherwood District Council and Nottinghamshire Police have received numerous reports in the last few months of youths displaying threatening and abusive behaviour, catapults being targeted at wildlife and stones being thrown at cars and houses in Balderton.

Balderton Parish Council’s offices were also broken into earlier this year and fence panels belonging to nearby properties kicked down, leaving residents feeling “intimidated and reluctant to sit in their own gardens for fear of being targeted”.

Song birds, ducks, geese and even an owl have been the subjects of cruel, catapult-inflicted abuse around the Balderton and Newark areas.

Joint patrols undertaken by undercover Police officers, supported by District Council Community Protection Officers recently caught a number of youths in possession of catapults. Officers detained a number of individuals and their catapults seized.

Newark Market Place has also been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour in the last year. During 2020, there was a marked increase in issues of young people congregating, climbing on market stalls and throwing projectiles.

A number of young people are now being dealt with by the Nottinghamshire County Council youth offending team, which is working alongside the council and police to explore more diversionary projects that will help reduce anti-social behaviour in the areas.



Balderton Lake entrance, Heron Way.

Newark and Sherwood District Council last week approved the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in both Newark town centre and Balderton lakes, Coronation Park and the lakeside shopping centre in Balderton.

If an officer has reasonable grounds to suspect someone to have been involved in, or are likely to cause, anti-social behaviour, they can be immediately directed to leave the area.

It is an offence if an individual, or group of individuals, are directed to leave an area under the conditions of the PSPO, but they refuse to comply.

District council leader, David Lloyd, said: “We understand that with lockdown restrictions lifting, alongside the warmer weather, there is a desire to get out and about with friends and that’s what we’d encourage, but as long as it’s done in a safe and measured way and not causing anti-social behaviour. Some of the displays of behaviour that we’ve seen recently are absolutely unacceptable, not only to passers-by and buildings, but also to innocent wildlife.

“I am therefore delighted that we’re introducing this new PSPO, which will allow officers to disperse those who are likely to engage in this sort of behaviour and prevent issues before they take place.

“I would also urge anyone experiencing or witnessing anti-social behaviour or any other undesirable activities to let us know. Any information that people give us will be taken in confidence and we are gathering all evidence with a view to taking legal action immediately.”

Chief Inspector Heather Sutton of Nottinghamshire Police said: “We welcome the PSPO in the area which gives our officers greater powers to disperse people. It makes it an offence for people not to comply with an officer’s direction to leave the area, which they are able to do if they suspect an individual or a group are involved in or are likely to cause antisocial behaviour.

“Newark is a heavily rural part of the county and as such we know issues such as anti-social behaviour, including illegal off-road biking, and protecting wildlife are hugely important to our communities.

“In particular when it comes to wildlife, lots of our residents have spoken about their concerns and find it really distressing to come across animals that have been deliberately killed. It’s completely unacceptable behaviour and as such we are committed to tackling this alongside our partners.

“Creating this permanent PSPO is not a decision ourselves or our partners have taken lightly, and it comes after much discussion and using a number of other tools, such as dispersal orders, in the past.

“We absolutely continue to welcome people to Newark and encourage people to safely enjoy the activities and sights that the area has to offer. I want to make it absolutely clear that this will only be used against those engaged in antisocial behaviour.”

New signage will be put up around the restricted areas to highlight the new PSPO.

The order will remain in effect for three years and can be enforced by designated Newark and Sherwood District Council officers, police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Anyone breaking the PSPO by other means would be liable to a maximum penalty of a fine (currently £1,000) or to a fixed penalty notice up to £100.


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