Shop staff ‘terrified’ to work due to street drinkers

Staff at John's Shop say they are scared to come to work due to problems with street drinkers and sh

Staff at John's Shop say they are scared to come to work due to problems with street drinkers and shoplifters. - Credit: Archant

Staff from a shop in Weston High Street say they are ‘terrified’ to go to work due to problems with street drinkers and shoplifters.

John’s Shop has lost hundreds of pounds worth of goods to thieves who have stolen ornaments and bags over the past couple of months.

They are also having problems with people drinking all day in the Italian Gardens, which often leads to fights.

In one incident on August 7, a man was arrested on suspicion of assault and affray after threatening people in the town centre.

A member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: “We are losing so much business and this end of the High Street has become known for trouble, drugs, drinking violence and theft.

“We also have a real issue with the street drinkers. They seem to have made the Italian Gardens their regular drinking site. They are loud, aggressive, they fight and make threats and are generally disruptive.

“It really is getting ridiculous and again nothing is being done about it, despite me reporting it again and again.

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“I am honestly at the point of being terrified to come to work of what might happen to me that day and not surprisingly the trade is non existent in our shop, as people are to terrified to come to this end of the high street and I wouldn’t blame them.

“We feel that something has to be done to ensure the High Street is a pleasant and safe place to be for locals as well as tourists visiting the area.”

Staff reported the incidents to police on a number of occasions, but say they are not being given the support they need.

Avon and Somerset police confirmed the High Street is the ‘most regularly patrolled’ part of the beat area.

Acting Sergeant Paul Lewis said: “We have had several criminal behaviour orders granted against some of those who are likely to be involved in street drinking and antisocial behaviour and these are having a positive effect on keeping those individuals out of the town centre. More orders are also going through the court process at the moment.

“Officers will continue to be vigilant, looking for any signs of antisocial behaviour as they tour the streets. And we will continue to provide a proportionate response to live incidents based on the threat, harm and risk posed.

“We’ll continue to work with partnering organisations, including North Somerset Council and Weston BID, to safeguard the reputation Weston has for being a fantastic place to stay and visit, as encapsulated by the Purple Flag status for having a safe night-time economy that was awarded for a fifth consecutive year in February.”

North Somerset Council has confirmed it is working with the police to tackle the problem.

The authority is also reviewing its public space protection orders which will give local agencies a greater ability to deal with antisocial behaviour.

A spokesman said: “Following the recently reported incidents we’ll be increasing our community response patrols in the area to complement the work of the police.

“Also, Weston’s CCTV cameras are all being upgraded this month using the latest digital technology.

“They’ll provide clearer images which will help when bringing prosecutions.

“The new system will also allow the police to view live and recorded cameras remotely, and there’ll be mobile cameras which can be used at crime and disorder hotspots as needed.”