Police are warning further ‘unacceptable’ anti-social behaviour on Exmouth seafront will be dealt with ‘robustly’ after fighting youths spat and swore at officers.
CCTV and social media footage is being examined by police in a bid to identify culprits causing fights and scuffles at Orcombe Point on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when crowds of young people descended on the beach.
Devon and Cornwall Police promised to step up patrols over the weekend and have issued a fresh 48-hour dispersal order for Orcombe Point and Exmouth seafront, giving officers powers until Sunday lunchtime, June 28, to break up any large groups of troublemakers – and arrest offenders.
Police were called to Orcombe Point on Wednesday evening to break up a party of around 200 youths after receiving multiple reports of a large-scale fight, smaller scuffles and anti-social behaviour.
The fights prompted police to issue a beach dispersal order in a bid to prosecute and arrest repeat offenders, and give powers to break up similar large gatherings.
A mass mob of youths, ignoring the initial Exmouth beach ban, spat and swore at police when officers tried to break up fights for the second evening running, when around 50 youths descended on the beach on Thursday evening, June 25.
Antony Hart, Superintendent of Local Policing in Exeter, East and Mid Devon, said fresh reports of anti-social behaviour prompted a new dispersal order for the seafront area from now, Friday, until midday on Sunday, June 28.
He said: “These reports have included large groups of young people and adults fighting, a serious assault, and officers being verbally abused and spat at.
“Needless to say, this is absolutely unacceptable behaviour and it will not be tolerated.
“As a result of these matters we will be putting out an increased high visibility police presence in the area over the coming days and those arriving can expect to be greeted by officers.
“Those who are involved in anti-social behaviour will be robustly dealt with, and we will seek out those who have committed offences.”
He added: “A Section 35 dispersal order has been put in place between 12pm on Friday 26 and 12pm on Sunday 28 June to cover the sea front area.
“Anyone who is formally given notice to disperse from the area must not return within the notice period and anyone who does is liable for arrest and prosecution.
“Local teams are also continuing to review available CCTV and social media footage in order to identify those responsible for causing this disruption and I’d encourage anyone who witnessed any of the incidents, has relevant mobile phone footage and information, to contact police.”
A 200-strong gang of youths drinking and fighting on Exmouth beach on Wednesday prompted police to say they will do ‘whatever is necessary’ to protect the community from crime and disorder.
The message came from Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Superintendent Matt Lawler after it was revealed police had to break up a mass brawl and disperse the crowd.
Some 200 young people gathered at Orcombe Point to party and drink, and a mass fight broke out, sparking police to impose a dispersal order to gain control.
The force said it would not tolerate a repeat of the youths’ antics on the beach, of mass gathering, drinking, brawling and anti-social behaviour.
Police urged people to stick to government guidelines and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Supt. Hart said: “While regulations around COVID have been relaxed to an extent, the Government continues to ask all people to respect social distancing and rule around gatherings and to remember coronavirus remains a serious threat to public health.
“While we want people to be able to have a good time and enjoy themselves, drinking to excess and meeting in such large groups is putting themselves and many others at risk.”
If you have mobile phone footage and information to help police, contact 101 and quote log 287 of 26 June.
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