Wednesday, 6 August 2008

An excuse for another dispersal order?

This article has appeared on the Yorkshire Evening Post on the 5th of August. Who is the mysterious businessman that contacted YEP with the story? Perhaps someone who thinks that the youngsters would annoy the dinners at the future Anthony's?????

Leeds youths terrorise Corn Exchange with drugs, alcohol and violence
Youths congregating behind the corn exchange
Yorkshire Evening Post

Published Date: 05 August 2008
By Debbie Leigh
DRUNKEN, drug-taking, violent teenagers are causing mayhem in Leeds city centre.
Up to 80 gather on Saturday afternoons in Chancellor's Court behind the Corn Exchange, and indulge in outrageous, offensive and criminal behaviour, a businessman told the YEP. He claims he has seen horrendous violence, including:
Gangs hurling bricks
A young girl so high on drugs she slit her wristsThe man, who didn't want to be named, said: "I watched one guy get stamped on by another guy repeatedly, I've seen them throwing bricks at each other, one girl who looked around 15 slit her wrists open."She took a broken bottle to her arm and cut a couple of inch wounds to her wrist - there was quite a lot of blood. The ambulance crew said 'why did you do it?'"She said 'I don't know what I was doing, I was taking pills and doing poppers."The police are now taking action - setting up extra patrols and CCTV.

A second worker from a nearby venue said: "There was a big group of youths fighting with bats in the car park, trying to use whatever weapons they could find."Another trader, who said his customers were intimidated, said: "I saw the aftermath when a girl tried to kill herself - she was lying on the floor with blood pouring out of her arm."He added: "There's a big stone chair at the bottom - they had ripped up all the bricks and thrown them out. The trees they plant are ripped out every weekend."Some of the youngsters, aged around 10 to 21, just run around, screaming and shouting but many are accused of:

Brazen under-age boozing
Smoking drugs
Urinating in the streets

In the past couple of years Leeds City Council landscaped Chancellor's Court as part of a Yorkshire Forward-funded programme to improve several prominent areas in the city centre and encourage more people to use it.And the Corn Exchange has undergone a stunning £1.5million refurbishment to restore it to its former glory.Jason Georgiou, who ran Rebop vintage fashion store in the historic building but moved to nearby Crown Street earlier this year, said the yobs had damaged trade.The Leeds businessman who contacted the YEP said: "We and everyone else on the street are at the end of our tether because it has a serious effect on our businesses. Couples and old people who walk past get abused and shouted at."He said traders had rung police countless times and he was disappointed with the response, claiming they made youngsters pour away their booze then left.Inspector Ron Jones, of Leeds City Neighbourhood Police Team, said: "In response we have deployed CCTV and stepped up patrols in the area and, with partners, are again engaging with the young adults to see if we can find suitable new places they will want to go to, rather than simply moving them on."I want to stress however that if we identify anyone causing vandalism, graffiti or anti-social behaviour we will take positive action and they will be prosecuted."A spokesman for Leeds Chamber of Commerce said: "Obviously the situation needs monitoring to make sure we do identify what sort of things are taking place and then it's dealt with appropriately."A Leeds City Council spokesman said: "We have been working closely for some time with the young people who congregate in this area, helping them find a constructive outlet for their energy and enthusiasm."

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