Drunken ‘invaders’ threatens to ruin Richmond, letter writer claims

Visitors to the falls on Tuesday.

North Yorkshire’s chief constable and police and crime commissioner have been urged to act to stop drunken “invaders” ruining Richmond.

An open letter has been sent to the pair — as well as senior council chiefs and MP Rishi Sunak — following problems this week when hundreds of people descended on the town and Falls area in particular during the hot weather.

As well as a large amount of litter being left at the Falls, problems of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour were reported in Richmond Market Place.

The letter writer, who has asked to remain anonymous, has called for a multi-agency response to tackle the problem, saying “it isn’t difficult to predict these invasions.”

They added: “Action must be taken before the tourists stop coming and businesses start to close.

“We live next door to the largest army garrison in Europe.

“We know that occasionally young people `let off steam’.  This is much more than that.  It it isn’t tackled it has the potential to ruin a town.”

Local police confirmed the confiscated more than 200 bottles of alcohol and a sound system from visitors on Tuesday this week.

Alcohol confiscated by police in Richmond on Tuesday.

Officers also dispersed some revellers from riverside areas, made an arrest after a disturbance and dealt with driving offences.

Police used existing Public Space Protection Order and temporary Dispersal Authority powers, and have warned they will be taking further action throughout the summer.

The residents letter states:

For the attention of Chief Constable Lisa Winward

For the attention of Police and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe

For the past three years Richmond has been, during the summer months, invaded by young people. I am not anti young people. I presented an award at a local school last week recognising the contribution young people make to our community.   

The young people who are invading Richmond are causing so much trouble and changing the face of of our town.  Public Spaces Protection Orders have been issued to prevent drunken and anti-social behaviour but this is obviously not working. Was any alcohol confiscated yesterday, was anyone arrested? I was part of a music event which ran for 20 years beside the river. We had to ensure no alcohol came on site. No trouble was ever caused by this event but the police used to call in reinforcements from Harrogate. This seems an impossible ask for the local police now and because they were outnumbered could only watch. These very drunk young people terrorised locals, shopkeepers and the takeaways that remained open. They littered everywhere they went. They threw missiles at motorists. They lay drunk on the pavements. They caused trouble on the buses. Their presence means that locals and visitors alike can no longer enjoy a day beside the river. They don’t appear to have any respect for others or their surroundings. These young people can be very intimidating towards members of the community even more so when they are in large groups as well as putting themselves at risk through anti-social and risk-taking behaviours.

Yes the local council has taken what action it can but this does not resolve the problem because they need to work with the police and vice versa. Yes the local police officers are a very thin blue line. This needs to be a multi agency response and as it isn’t difficult to predict these `invasions’.  Action must be taken before the tourists stop coming and businesses start to close.  

Twice yesterday I was confronted by the impact these people had not just on the riverside (The Batts) but in the early evening in the Market Place.  I hardly recognised my home town and I was frightened. All I did was collect an order from my local fish and chip shop and I do not want to repeat the experience again.  Being surrounded by drunken people.  I felt so sorry for the staff in the chippy.  They were under siege.   Everyone I have spoken to today is worried and afraid.  I don’t want to go into the Market Place this afternoon as I feel a little afraid.  If others feel this shops and businesses will suffer.

Richmond has always welcomed visitors.  Generations of people from nearby counties came for cheap days out and a picnic by the river.  Grandparents will tell you they were brought here by their grandparents.  They loved the wild river and falls and the beauty of our historic town.  Over the last few days and similarly last year the people coming are here for their own drunken gratification without a care for others.  Are they above the law?   The reply I was given today was the courts just let them off!  Hopefully the new Problem Solving Courts will give the police the confidence to make these arrests?

Finally, you will say that here in Richmond we don’t get much crime and disorder so when there is a problem we over react.  You would be wrong, we are tolerant.  We live next door to the largest army garrison in Europe.  We know that occasionally young people `let off steam’.  This is much more than that.  It it isn’t tackled it has the potential to ruin a town.

Can you please tell me and the wider public what your plans are to stop this chaos?

A Richmond resident.

Richmondshire Today ahs contacted North Yorkshire Police and the police and crime commissioner’s office for a response.

 

3 Comments

  1. You may well live next door to a British Army Garrison but please DO NOT infer that they are responsible for the hooliganism at the falls. Thank you.

  2. Everything in this letter is true & confirms the way local people feel about these invasions.
    When are the residents of this area going to be allowed to enjoy all that is on offer here when we have good weather? At the moment we stay at home because the noise, abuse, rubbish, bad language etc. spoil it for everyone. Then the aftermath left for local people to clear, clean up.
    Please …… do something to stop it.

  3. It’s time for the police to get a grip and do their job to control this activity which is entirely foreseeable whenever the weather is hot

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