Police increase night patrols

Fleetwood Gym coach Mike Sumner with just a fraction of the littler and broken glass that was strewn across King George's playing fields.
Fleetwood Gym coach Mike Sumner with just a fraction of the littler and broken glass that was strewn across King George's playing fields.

Fleetwood Police have promised extra patrols at a teenage congregating hot spot to tackle summer get-togethers and school leaving celebrations.

Teenagers left a trail of broken bottles, empty beer cans and the remains of fireworks after partying on King George’s playing fields.

The mess expanded across a large area at the back of the football fields off Fleetwood Road, littering the pitches and causing danger from the broken glass to dogs and their walkers – and children who play football there.

Now, leaders at Fleetwood Gym, which regularly uses the fields for youth football training, is calling for a larger police presence and has appealed to teenagers to think twice before leaving their rubbish.

Mike Sumner who coaches hundreds of children in Fleetwood every week said the club has to undertake a full search of the pitches before they can allow games to begin in fear of someone being hurt.

He said: “We shouldn’t have to put up with it.

“I believe there were around 200 school leavers congregating there, I understand they want to celebrate but breaking bottles?

“It wouldn’t be as bad if it was just a case of picking cans and bottles up but it’s the broken pieces. Last year they had used the goal posts to smash the bottles.

“We cannot risk letting the children play football until we have done a full search of the pitches –it’s far worse when you’re looking for bits of glass.

“The council has lowered the fencing so the field can be seen more clearly but it is still happening.”

The pitches are used by at least 200 kids every week and involve visiting clubs too.

“There must be some of these kids who play football themselves there, or who have done in the past, they should know what its like,” added Mike.

Sgt Dan Whittaker of Fleetwood’s neighbourhood policing team promised patrols would be stepped up.

He said: “We were called three times to the area on Wednesday evening following calls from the public about youths congregating.

“When we arrived the group dispersed but we engaged with a couple of the young people who were in high spirits and advised them to tidy up. There was no evidence of alcohol at that time.

“The end of exam and school leaving season is here and we will be increasing patrols from this weekend deploying community support officers to the area.

“We have good co-operation from the schools who are quick to tell us if they suspect anything is planned.”

Fleetwood High School headteacher Richard Barnes said teaching students responsibility in the community is paramount.

He added: “I would be surprised if it was any of our students, they had a leavers assembly on Thursday and an important exam on Friday.

“We work really hard to instil a sense of community in our students and take every opportunity to urge them to be responsible and not to let us down.”

Phil Mooney, headteacher at Cardinal Allen Catholic High School said: “In such cases Cardinal Allen staff always speak to pupils as a means to either investigate matters or to give general advice.

“We did so on this occasion and are very supportive of the need to preserve our environment and for adolescents not to behave in any anti-social way.”