Police, councillors and residents have worked together to prevent a shop in a former anti-social behaviour hot spot from getting a licence to sell alcohol.
An application had been submitted to Lancaster City Council which, if granted, would have allowed Poulton Express, on Poulton Road, Morecambe, to sell alcohol to its customers.
Concerns were raised that this would have a detrimental effect on the Poulton Park area, which had until recently suffered from problems with anti-social behaviour. The neighbourhood police team worked closely with ward councillors and residents to improve life in the local community, but it was feared that an easily accessible off-licence may once again lead to an increase in alcohol-fuelled crime and anti-social behaviour.
At a hearing of Lancaster’s licensing committee this week, the application was refused following objections from police, councillors and those who live in Poulton.
Sergeant James Martin, licensing officer for Lancaster police, said: “Alcohol is often a contributing factor to anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and violent crime. This can then be further exacerbated if adults are irresponsible and give alcohol to underage children.
“The local neighbourhood police team has worked very hard to reduce these sorts of incidents in this area and the situation had vastly improved. It was felt that having an off-licence in Poulton would potentially undo this work and our objections were supported not only by the local councillors but the local residents as well.”
PC Rob Brookbanks, community beat manager for Poulton, said: “Teenagers had been congregating in the park, drinking alcohol and then smashing the bottles. This made it hard for families to visit because not only was the broken glass dangerous but they also faced abuse and foul language from the youngsters.
“The anti-social behaviour would spill out into the street, with footballs being kicked against windows and other criminal damage being committed.
"We stepped up our patrols, both day and night, and placed an 8.00pm curfew on the park. Together with the council, we got benches in more secluded areas removed and confiscated any alcohol. As a result, reports of anti-social behaviour fell and residents have told us it is a much more pleasant area to live in. We are pleased that the council agreed with our objections to the plans for the licence.”