by Henry James (October 2019)

A DISPERSAL zone has been imposed by police in Maghull today (Wednesday) after gangs of up to 40 youths caused havoc in the town in the run-up to the Halloween and Mischief Night period.

Incidents of trouble included youths throwing fireworks and eggs at cars as well as shops and pubs, gangs fighting in the KGV park, and young people climbing on top of and smashing the windows of parked vehicles.

There have also been reports of waste bins being set alight and acts of vandalism at the railway station.

The dispersal zone, which covers a large area of Maghull including King George V Park will be in place for 48 hours from 4pm today (Wednesday) to 4pm on Friday, November 1. Police have said the dispersal zone has been put in place, “to help combat anti-social behaviour in the area which has been causing damage to property in the locality and putting the community at risk of injury.”

The police move was supported by one resident who had a firework thrown at her car and feared someone could be seriously injured unless action was taken.

Elaine Law, 52, told the Champion she was driving by KGV park on Saturday at 9pm when the firework hit her car and went off.

She says she got out of the car and was confronted by a gang of around 40 youths.

She said: “I confronted them and asked them what they were doing and they said, “they had nowhere to go. Parents need to know where these kids are.”

The dispersal zone will cover the areas within the boundaries of Green Lane, Dodds Lane, Ormonde Drive, Broadwood Avenue, Hall Lane, Old Hall Road and Moss Lane.

In these areas, police officers have the power to: Require anyone to leave the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours; to surrender items that can be used to cause anti-social behaviour; send under 16s home or to a place of safety; and arrest anyone who ignores the instruction.

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “We can confirm reports were received of fireworks being set off by youths in Maghull on Saturday (October 26).

“The reports were received at around 8pm of a group of youths on the King George V Playing Fields setting off fireworks in the direction of Meadows Leisure Centre on Hall Lane and passing cars, and riding in and out of traffic on scooters.

“Upon police attendance the youths dispersed and enquiries are ongoing to locate those responsible.”

Community Inspector Duncan Swan said: "It is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible to set off fireworks in this way.

“It risks the safety not only of those setting them off and those around them, but also completely innocent passers-by and motorists just trying to go about their daily lives.

“It also causes a nuisance and can leave people living locally fearful of leaving the house, or walking or even driving in the vicinity.

“At this time of year I want to make it absolutely clear that it is against the law to carry or use fireworks if you are under 18, and illegal for people of any age to let off or throw a firework in a public place.

“We are making enquiries into this incident and I would urge people to please report any information on anti-social behaviour in their area so we can act on it.

“I would also like to appeal to parents and guardians – if you believe your child might be engaging in this type of behaviour, please speak to them before they get into trouble, or worse still, end up seriously hurting someone else or themselves.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. People can also call 101 quoting incident reference 874 of 26 October or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.

l MAGHULL Town Council, working with Merseyside Police and the Active Sefton team, are organising free activities for 10 to 16 year olds this Halloween. They will be organising floodlit sports, a climbing wall and glow in the dark sports at KGV Playing Fields/Maghull Town Hall today between 5.30pm and 7pm. There will also be floodlit sports at Glenn Park, Maghull on Monday from 5.30pm-7pm.

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