Estate youths outsmarting police gadget

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 October 2011

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A HI-TECH police gadget which is designed to prevent troublesome youths gathering at a Weston problem spot has worked - but neighbours are upset the issues have simply moved along the road.

The noise-emitting mosquito device was installed near to the McColls convenience store in Aller Parade on the Oldmixon estate around six weeks ago.

It gives out an ear-splitting noise which can only be heard by teenagers, and shop workers can turn it on to dispel groups which meet outside the shop and cause antisocial behaviour.

But the youths have already got wise to the device, which has a range of around 20 metres, and have simply moved along the road.

This has upset neighbours, who say the range of the mosquito needs to be increased.

Pat Parker, aged 66, of Monkton Avenue, Weston, said: “They know exactly how far they can go without being affected by the gadget.

“And they know exactly when it goes on and off. It’s great for the store, but it means they are coming closer to our homes and causing trouble here.”

The gadget was installed by estate police in response to complaints from neighbours and McColls staff about antisocial behaviour in the area, and has the backing of ward councillors.

Cllr Ian Parker said: “If the group have sussed out that moving a certain distance away from the shop will mean they will not be affected, then clearly the range needs to be increased or the gadget needs to be updated.”

PCSO Kylie Stevens said the gadget is only turned on if there is a group of youth in the area displaying antisocial behaviour.

It can also only be turned on for 10 minutes and then has to be turned off for a minimum of five minutes, to keep in accordance with human rights regulations.

She said: “It’s been a hard struggle to get things moving and the amount of complaints has gone down.

“But officers cannot be on duty 24/7 and we encourage residents to call in with any problems they are having.”

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