PROBLEM drinkers and drug addicts hanging about Scarborough’s town centre could face legal action.
Police in the town are targeting a 15-strong group who are terrorising shop keepers and tourists with their anti-social behaviour.
They have been spotted sprawled on benches throughout the town centre from as early at 7.30am.
Officers have applied for a Dispersal Order which would give them powers to banish groups of two or more offenders causing problems in the town centre and arrest anyone who returns within 24 hours.
The area covered by the order is bounded by Victoria Road, Northway, Aberdeen Walk, and Westborough, together with West Square..
Barry Graham, Scarborough’s crime reduction and antisocial behaviour coordinator, said that in recent years the town had been “blighted” by a small but significant group of alcoholics, street drinkers and drug addicts.
He added: “They have brought with them problems of anti-social behaviour, drunkenness, drug misuse and low level criminality.
“The behaviour of this small but significant group has led to numerous complaints to the police both from residents in the area together with local traders who have been subjected to distress, alarm and harassment by the conduct and behaviour of this group.”
He added that the culprits, who were basically the same group of individuals, were abusive and used shop doorways as toilets.
The dispersal order also allows officers to take youngsters under the age of 16 home and place them under a curfew between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
It will be discussed on Thursday by Scarborough Council’s Central Urban Area Committee and, if approved, the order could be in force by next month.
The order would last for six months and, if the situation does not improve, police can apply for a second order.
Mr Graham said he hoped the new powers would be enough to solve the problem.