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Partners Unite for Lighter Nights Campaign

A number of free activities will get underway next week as part of a campaign to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

South Tyneside Council has joined forces with South Tyneside Homes, Northumbria Police and the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to run the annual Lighter Nights campaign.

Coinciding with the clocks going forward and the Easter holidays, the campaign will run from Thursday 4 April - Monday 22 April.

Councillor Nancy Maxwell, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "We recognise that this time of year can sometimes be accompanied by a rise in anti-social behaviour which is why we take part in this campaign alongside our partners.

"The campaign tackles a number of issues ranging from tackling the sale of alcohol to minors to removing rubbish and grass that could be set alight."

As part of the campaign, a number of free activities are being organised for young people. These include a climb at Simonside climbing wall and a barbecue on Thursday, 4 April between 5.30pm and 9.30pm. Children from the age of five upwards, young people and families are welcome and there is no need to book.

Two five-a-side football tournaments are also being held. The first of these will be held on Friday 5 April between 7pm and 9pm at Clegwell Community Association. The second tournament will be held on Friday 12 April between 7pm and 9pm at Temple Park. Both events will see young people between the ages of 11 and 13 and 14 and 16 compete. To find out more about the football tournaments, contact Chris Thompson on (0191) 424 7845.

Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "As the weather improves and the days become longer, it is only natural that young people want to spend more time outside with their friends. However, we want to see them channel their energies into positive activities. These events allow us to showcase the great range of activities on offer in the Borough and I would encourage people to go along."

Inspector Phil Baker, of Northumbria Police, said: "With the lighter nights comes the possibility that larger groups of people will congregate outdoors and cause disruption in the local community.

"This campaign, working in partnership with South Tyneside Council and other key partners, aims to nip any anti-social behaviour in the bud and tackle issues that arise head-on.

"Nobody should be made to feel intimidated or frightened in their home, but we know that the behaviour of a minority can have a significant effect on residents.

"As a result, we will continue to use a number of tactics to identify offenders and ensure the people of South Tyneside remain safe. That could be through targeted patrols, covert officers being deployed or through the use of civil legislation including dispersal notices.

"We recently ran Operation Constellate to clamp down on youth disorder in a number of identified anti-social behaviour hotspots, and we will be looking to build on that success over the coming weeks as we head towards the summer."

Grant Brotherton, Head of Prevention and Education, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The busiest time of year for anti-social behaviour associated fires is actually April. Most people think its November, when we are busy with the bonfire period, but that is not the case, although that is our next busiest time.

"Once the clocks change and the nights are lighter for longer we see a real increase in these types of fires. From March 2018 to March 2019, we attended 723 wheelie bin fires across Tyne and Wear that were classified as arson, which accounted for 10 per cent of all fires."



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