Street-drinkers a blight to Littlehampton trade

Crime commissioner Katy Bourne has pledged to combat the issue of street-drinkers in Littlehampton
Crime commissioner Katy Bourne has pledged to combat the issue of street-drinkers in Littlehampton

DRUNKS on Littlehampton’s streets are having a damaging effect on business in the area, a town trader has claimed.

Simon Vickers, chairman of the Littlehampton Traders’ Partnership, said the problem with drunks roaming the town’s streets and parks during the day is putting people off visiting the area.

On Thursday (April 24) he raised his concerns with the police and crime commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne, during a public meeting at Manor House, in Church Street, Littlehampton.

Mr Vickers, who owns Arun Furnishers, in Beach Road, said: “Traders and residents are becoming increasingly worried about the increase in drunkenness in our town.

“While unpleasant for us, the concern is that people are being put off return visits to the town affecting long-standing customers and new residents. We’re concerned police are insufficiently able to deal with this with the current amount of resources they have.”

Town councillor Malcolm Belchamber told Mrs Bourne the main trouble spots were in the High Street and Caffyn’s field. He said: “Summer’s coming and they’re on Caffyns Field where people are having picnics with their children and they are all standing there drinking, drunk, peeing all over the place in front of the public. This isn’t on.”

Mr Vickers asked the crime commissioner whether more uniformed police could patrol the town, supporting the team of PCSOs.

He said the regular officers could then use a dispersal order to temporarily ban the drinkers from the town.

Mrs Bourne said this was only a short-term answer and that addressing the problem in the long-term was more important. She said: “It really is an acute problem and one that is particularly prevalent in seaside towns. But that said, I genuinely feel that the police, working with partners well, need to be able to target this more effectively.”

She promised she would be ‘raising the issue to the top’ during her monthly accountability meeting with senior police staff from across the county.

Mrs Bourne also explained that Sussex would be taking part in a Government-led pilot scheme to crack down on street drinking, which would hopefully help solve the town’s problems.

However, she said: “It will not cure your problem 100 per cent. I would love to wave a magic wand for you and promise you that but I’m not going to because I can’t deliver that for you.”