Cafe owner fears high street is becoming a ‘no-go zone’

A South Wales high street has become a “no-go zone” after groups of youths began hanging out there.

Local businesswoman Caroline Jones claims groups of up to 25 youths gather almost every night in Porthcawl’s John Street where they have been seen banging shop windows, shouting and climbing on scaffolding.

She said the problem has got so bad that residents now “avoid” the street after dark.

And she spoke out about fellow business owners’ fears that their shops could be vandalised if the problem is left to escalate.

The area where the group gathers includes a tourist information centre, Primark, a card shop and Ms Jones’ business, the Bakerboy Café.

She said: “My café was vandalised last year. In that case, someone tried to smash the window but nothing was taken. It is a concern for a lot of people.”

Ms Jones, who was the Conservative candidate for the police and crime commissioner elections, said there needs to be a higher police presence in the town to tackle the problem.

She said: “There definitely needs to be more police in John Street – it’s a no-go zone.

“Regularly from about 8.30pm you get huge groups of young people – all about 16 or 17.

“You get about 25 of them going around with skateboards, shouting, hanging from scaffolding, urinating on doorsteps and generally causing a nuisance.

“It’s been going on for about the last two years.”

Caroline Jones, of the Bakerboy Caf in Porthcawl
Caroline Jones, of the Bakerboy Café in Porthcawl

 

She said local residents told her they avoid the area because they are afraid of confrontation.

“When you see a big gang like that John Street becomes deserted at night and people who used to walk through with their dogs and so on now avoid it,” she said.

“I don’t know where they come from, whether they are leaving a youth club or something like that, but they stay there for hours.

“Once I saw a boy banging the window of the card shop because he wanted to see the cards fall down.

“Another time I saw two girls back-to-back in the road with their arms locked, refusing to move out of the way for drivers.

“I think it’s got to the stage where enough is enough.”

Acting Inspector for Porthcawl and Maesteg, Paul Thomas, said: “We are aware of the concerns about anti social behaviour in the vicinity and it is being treated as a neighbourhood priority by local officers.

“This type of behaviour will not be tolerated. We are increasing patrols in the area and will deal robustly with any incidents of criminal or anti social behaviour.

“Over the past 12 month period overall crime in the sector has reduced by 7.6% with 327 fewer victims when compared with the previous year.”

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/porthcawl-businesswoman-says-town-centre-2577703