A BLACKPOOL business leader has demanded something is done about “booze fuelled half-wits” blighting the resort.
Steve Pye, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses for the area, said the business community was becoming increasingly frustrated by yobbish behaviour.
He said blatant drug dealing on the streets, aggressive behaviour, vandalism and theft are hammering trade for some small business owners.
Mr Pye (pictured) is calling for a get tough policy in the resort to counter the drugs and thugs and to bring some positive publicity for Blackpool.
He said: “Something needs to be done. Businesses are finding it hard. When there are people hanging around outside or drug dealing going on in the street it puts customers off.
“In some places if you go there after 4pm, it’s almost dead. For cafes to be shut at that time when commuters might want to drop in, it is ridiculous.
“People have complained about drug-taking outside their premises and nothing seems to be done about it.
“The justice system just doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. We need a cure not just a sticking plaster and that is why I suggest a zero tolerance approach.”
His call comes in the wake of the social problems highlighted in Channel 4 programme 999: What’s Your Emergency? and just a week after businesses in North Shore made a plea for more CCTV as vandals and burglars plagued the Devonshire Road area.
Hazel Kay, 39, owner of Sun4U on Devonshire Road, was left with a bill running into thousands of pounds after the windows of her tanning shop were smashed. Mrs Kay said: “It’s been getting worse in this area for some time but nothing like this has happened before.”
Mr Pye’s call also follows Blackpool Council leader Simon Blackburn’s impassioned plea in The Gazette for the public’s support about the resort being beset by social issues which are damaging its image.
Mr Blackburn wants to confront the culture of “dependency on the state” in some areas and pledged to tackle the issue of migrants from other towns and cities putting a strain on services.
In a plea for help from the public he said: “We must have hope, a vision for a better future, and an unshakeable belief things can change.”
And last week in The Gazette, a poll of readers showed most people want to see more bobbies on the beat across the Fylde coast to combat nuisance crime and provide a reassuring presence for residents.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We take all incidents of anti-social behaviour seriously and giving people the support and protection they need is an absolute priority.”
Mr Pye’s call for action
THE recent Channel 4 emergency services documentary has done the town a huge favour by showing anti-social problems that blight not just Blackpool but the whole of the UK.
Small businesses around the Fylde coast are subjected to vandalism, robbery and blatant drug dealing outside their premises and it is difficult enough to get customers and visitors without them being frightened by drunken or drug fuelled half wits.
The only solution to anti-social behaviour would be a zero tolerance approach. Blackpool could be the catalyst that introduces measures that would reverse the bad publicity and be replaced by positive publicity if the town was to introduce a zero tolerance approach giving police and councils more power to fast track penalties and fines to absent landlords, problem families and individuals. For example, bad behaviour, drug and alcohol related crimes could result in a banning order from anywhere with an FY postcode as well as a loss of benefits. Anyone caught with drugs or under the influence of drugs need to be sacked from their jobs, if in employment and replaced by someone who abides by the law and wants to work.
Job cuts lead to an increase in unemployment benefit, yet feral behaviour is costing millions of pounds to society that could be used to keep and create jobs. Maybe small businesses, public sector and charities should provide some form of work experience placements for the majority of benefit claimants. Why not quietly re-hire redundant staff who are being paid state benefits and put them on a work programme so at least they can feel like they are still in employment?
Unfortunately, zero tolerance is deemed too extreme by some, so the mindless minority will be free to continue to financially and morally bankrupt this town.