THE police effort to stop unruly behaviour and groups of up to 100 people gathering at Earlswood Lakes will carry on even after the end of a dispersal order at 1pm today, Monday.
In the past few weeks there have been numerous reports of antisocial behaviour including problems with littering, parking, drug use, noise and groups congregating. There have also been reports fish theft.
Officers from the Stratford District Safer Neighbourhood Team put the order in place under section 34 of the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.
This gave officers the power to disperse anyone for the purpose of or reducing the likelihood of members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed, or distressed, or the occurrence of crime and disorder. People failing to disperse could be arrested.
Inspector Allison Wiggin from the Stratford Distrct Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “There have been reports of groups of 100 people congregating and this is causing a lot of community tension during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have tried to engage with the groups and encourage them to disperse and not come back; but this has been ignored and we have been left with no option but to take this action.
“My officers ended up cleaning up the awful mess left by people; these officers should be policing their local community, not picking up litter, but given the mess left behind we were left with no choice. We will not tolerate this.
“While this order is only in place until Monday, people should be under no illusion that this will be the end of our activity.
“We will continue to police the area and clamp down on people behaving in an antisocial manner.”
The Lakes are made up of three reservoirs and managed by the Canal and River Trust.
On its website it describes an idyllic scene under normal circumstances: “Earlswood Lakes are the perfect spot to explore your local waterside wildlife.
“Soak up the beautiful scenery while stretching your legs along the towpath, keep an eye out for the historic engine house, admire the striking sailing boats, or take a leisurely stroll down to the local craft centre.”