WITNESSES to crime are being urged to defy bullying and testify against law breakers who taint local life.
Police Inspector Barrie Joisce made the plea as Lynemouth residents outlined some of the unprovoked harassment they face in their community.
He said: “What we need is people who stand up and give us witness statements. People fear repercussions – I fully understand that and if it was me, on my doorstep, I would have the same concerns.
“But we need to see positive action against these individuals so we have to make a stand.”
One woman said: “I have had people kick my stick away from me. I have had people threaten to kick my little dog.”
The meeting heard spikes had been buried in the track at the allotments, which could be lethal to a horse that stood on one.
One person spoke of youngsters of 12 and 13 drinking cans of alcohol outdoors.
Another female resident said: “When you get five-year-olds smashing windows in an empty house and you say it’s wrong to do this, they just turn round and give you a mouthful of abuse.”
The Inspector said even with children under the age of criminal responsibility, their parents’ tenancy could be targeted.
“The message to parents is ultimately, they’re your responsibility and it’s up to you to control them,” he said.
Parish and county councillor Milburn Douglas said the police were valiant, but had insufficient powers.
Insp Joisce said Lynemouth recorded about 10 crimes a month, half of them criminal damage.
“I’m passionate about doing what we can and improving the quality of life,” he said.
He added that he had identified what caused communities in his patch most concern and at Lynemouth it was anti-social behaviour. It was being tackled in Operation Scarborough, a priority of new Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
Police staff, who were at the meeting, were about to go door-to-door in the village to ask people about their experiences.
The Inspector said: “There is a core group – that’s where we have to focus a lot of our time.
“There are between 20 and 30 youths who cause general anti-social behaviour in the area and a much smaller number who are key.”
Police were told there was nothing for young people to do so they tried to foster more constructive pastimes, but lack of funding made that difficult.
Neighbourhood Beat Manager Dave Weston said a stone thrown at a bus at 4.55pm on November 28 had cracked a window.
On December 8, superglue had been squeezed into the door lock of a house, preventing the occupant getting in.
On December 12, a pneumatic drill had been stolen from roadworks in the village.