Skateboarders ‘no real problem’

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A GROUP set up to protect a war memorial had mixed views over reports of anti-social behaviour around the monument.

The Friends of Victory Square group meeting, held at The People’s Centre, in Raby Road, Hartlepool, heard that the memorial in the town’s Victoria Road is “occasionally” used by town youngsters to ride their cycles, scooters and skateboards.

Chairman of the group Martin Sharp raised concerns that Hartlepool Borough Council was not using by-laws to punish or prosecute the youths responsible and to deter them from such “anti-social behaviour” in the future.

But Mr Sharp was met with opposition by people at the meeting who said that the activity was not a major problem and that examples of children using the monument for such purposes were infrequent.

Albert Williams, property manager for Hartlepool Council, who attended the meeting, said: “It’s pockets of behaviour and they are isolated.”

Dave Stacey, member of the RAF Association, added: “The council is aware, by Albert’s representations, and we’ve got to have faith in our authority that if this became a really big problem then something would be done.

“I personally think that we as a group are not enforcers, and I don’t think we should be knocking on council officers’ doors every week saying we want this or that doing.”

And group member Harry Hardy said: “I can’t see the point in pressing prosecutions.

“There’s a difference between a couple of lads skateboarding and anti-social behaviour.”

Irene Cross, development officer for Hartlepool Borough Council and also a member of the Friends of North Cemetery, told the meeting that anti-social behaviour is a personal opinion and what is seen as upsetting to one person may not be to another.

She suggested that if anyone was offended by the behaviour of such youths then they should ring the non-emergency 101 police number.