Stewards to prevent drinking and drug taking at the Falls in Richmond

File pic of the falls at Richmond. Photo: Paul Harrop.

Plans to protect a Richmondshire beauty spot blighted by anti social behaviour have been put in place for the Bank Holiday weekend.

When lockdown restrictions eased last year the Richmond Falls and Batts area were subject to large crowds of young people which led to inconsiderate behaviour, widespread drinking, drug taking and littering.

For this weekend’s Easter break Richmondshire District Council has arranged a series of measures with key partners to control any large crowds and prevent bad behaviour.

Stewards will patrol key access points to prohibit the taking of alcohol and drugs; additional bins will be provided for litter; increased police presence will be in place and there will be increased parking enforcement.

The Falls car park will be open – as will all the surrounding roads – and the stewards will be patrolling the car park to ensure considerate visitors and residents can be accommodated.

A rota of district council officers has also been set up to oversee the operation and make sure there is effective liaison between key agencies like the police, stewards and traffic officers.

“One of the key elements is the weather and currently it is forecast to be good,” said Councillor Helen Grant, community safety lead for the district council.

“From our experience last year, we have measures in place so that we can protect our residents and visitors alike.

“As we have said previously we welcome visitors who want to come to the area but equally we don’t welcome those who come and act in an anti-social way.”

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is now in place at the Richmond Falls and Batts areas of Richmond following problems last year.

It was claimed the incidents had been triggered by a combination of lockdown measures being lifted, pubs remaining closed and mass parties being arranged on social media involving revellers from Teesside, South Yorkshire, Sunderland and Newcastle.

The order banns people from continuing to consume alcohol when required to stop doing so by any authorised officer, being under the influence of drugs, throwing objects which could cause nuisance, lighting fires or barbecues and the irresponsible depositing of waste.

Anyone deemed to have contravened the order by a police or council officer faces a fixed penalty notice of £100.