by Henry James (January 2022)

GANGS of yobs have been ‘routinely intimidating and harassing’ customers and staff at the Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale and police want parents to help them deal with the problem.

Police say local people have told them that there have been “a group of young people repetitively causing problems in the centre and the surrounding businesses.”

The are now appealing for residents to give them information on the anti-social behaviour.

A spokesperson for Skelmersdale Police said: “We would like to stress that this is not a case of ‘kids being kids’, but rather routine intimidation and harassment of customers and staff.”

Police are in the process of gathering information about these young people, and they added “action will be taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff and customers of businesses in the area.”

The spokesperson said: “The police take this issue very seriously, and if this behaviour persists, prosecution may be the only appropriate measure to deal with this ongoing issue.

“As such we advise all parents/guardians to know where your children are and what they are doing at all times.”

A spokesman for the Concourse Shopping Centre said management has already met with local police and with Andrew Snowden, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, to examine how anti-social behaviour problems occurring there can be tackled.

The spokesperson added: “Following the meeting with local officers, we have been assured there is an increase in police presence within the centre and in the month running up to Christmas we also increased our security officer numbers.

“Our priority is to ensure the Concourse Shopping Centre is a safe environment for everyone and we are working closely with Lancashire Police to proactively tackle this behaviour when it occurs here.

“This includes having an information-sharing initiative with Lancashire Police.

“For any individuals we can identify, we are issuing banning orders. We have already issued a number, with assistance from the police.”

Lancashire Police added: “We are determined to do everything we can to tackle nuisance behaviour but we can’t do it without your help.

“If there are problems with anti-social behaviour in your area, there’s also lots of help and advice on our website - just follow the link at https://orlo.uk/mpLCc.”

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