Yobs force garage to close early

PORTISHEAD'S only petrol station is to shut early on Friday nights because of problems with rowdy youths

PORTISHEAD'S only petrol station is to shut early on Friday nights because of problems with rowdy youths.Bosses at the Waitrose garage at Station Road say they have been forced to close at 9pm on Fridays because of tearaway teens.It is understood this is the first time the supermarket giant has had to close one of its petrol stations early because of yobbish behaviour.Gangs of youths have been loitering around the garage, which usually closes at 11pm, intimidating customers and staff.A spokesman for Waitrose said: "We did not want to take this line of action."But following a number of incidents and with the health and safety of our customers and staff in mind, we have taken the decision to close the garage early."We pride ourselves in providing a pleasant shopping environment and this was being compromised."There have been a number of incidents of rowdiness and our shop staff and customers have felt intimidated as a result of this. "All incidents at the garage have been reported to police."The early closure will come as a real blow to people living in the town as Waitrose is the only petrol station.Drivers will be forced to travel to Gordano Services at the M5 motorway junction or to Clevedon or Nailsea if they need fuel.Other businesses in the town have also suffered problems with gangs of youths.Last month the North Somerset Times reported how a restaurant owner was assaulted in a fracas involving around 50 youths at Cabstand.A zero tolerance zone has also been introduced at Victoria Square following problems with rowdy teens.Portishead Police Sergeant Terry Scoble said he had held meetings with Waitrose bosses to look at ways of resolving the problems. He added there had been only four reports of unruly youths at the petrol station over the last three months.Sgt Scoble said: "We are disappointed Waitrose has taken this course of action when there are a number of other avenues which could have been explored."We have not had a large amount of calls to the garage and we have put certain measures in place such as recording ID checks on CCTV cameras."We have also increased patrols in the area."Sgt Scoble said a youth who was caught using false ID to purchase cigarettes had been dealt with.He added that two calls to the garage over the weekend of September 23/24 were as a result of rowdy adults causing problems.