Concern over youth actions in Market Rasen

“Minor actions have the potential to escalate into major disasters, damage, injury and even fatality” – that is the stark warning from a Market Rasen councillor following a spate of incidents in the town.

A major incident was averted thanks to the quick thinking of staff at the town's Co-op store
A major incident was averted thanks to the quick thinking of staff at the town's Co-op store

Over the last few weeks, Coun Stephen Bunney says he has received a number of comments from residents voicing concerns over groups of young people behaving without ‘due respect’ for the community, property and even themselves.

The latest incident occurred at the town’s Co-op foodstore, where the quick actions of staff prevented a fire from taking hold.

Coun Bunney said: “A group of local youths had irresponsibly lit a cardboard box, which they then threw towards the rubbish piled up in the compound at the rear of the store. If this had caught alight, the flames could easily have spread to the building and caused untold damage.

“Luckily, an alert duty staff saw the incident and averted a calamity by getting hold of the fire fighting apparatus and extinguishing the flames.

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"They then alerted the police, and other authorities, who attended the scene as appropriate.”

Mark Foulds, Security Manager at Lincolnshire Co-op, added: “We are really proud of our colleagues at Market Rasen Food Store, who acted quickly and calmly upon discovering a small fire.

“Lincolnshire Co-op will be looking to work alongside the police, the local school, and the wider community to prevent any further incidents.”

Other anti-social behaviour in the town reported to Coun Bunney has included climbing on roofs of public buildings, smearing soap on windows and doors, up rooting plants, riding bikes or scooters dangerously in inappropriate places, and standing in numbers swearing at each other in shop doors.

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Coun Bunney said: “None of these behaviours are new to this generation, but in the past were soon brought to a halt by the ‘bobby’ on the beat who would deal with the issue directly and then take the individuals to face their families.

“The mere presence of a police officer was enough to act as a deterrent.

“In today’s society, we no longer see police officers in town they are busy dealing with the priority crimes –

computer/financial fraud, people and drug trafficking, modern day slavery – responding to serious local

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incidents, when they have time and the resources.”

He continued: “It is important that these crimes are dealt with, but so is preventing anti-social behaviour and promoting safety in our communities.”

Now Coun Bunney is encouraging people to report incidents to the police in a bid to improve policing in the area, although he recognises the frustration this may bring.

He said: “Every year, the police allocate their resources to meet the priorities of the people. One way they do this is to look at registered incidents and crimes on 101, the web site and social media platforms.

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“To get our goal of more community-based police it is important that all antisocial behaviour incidents are recorded in this way and given an incident number.

“I understand the frequent long wait [20 minutes plus in many cases] and the apparent no action of the police puts residents off doing this and so the incidents are not recognised as officially having occurred.”

Local councillors across the district are working with police to look at this situation.

Coun Bunney added: “These antisocial youths are only a minority of that age group – most are responsible, well-behaved and respected.

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“However, the whole community must come together to help tackle these issues and so I urge you all to report crime and antisocial behaviour in any way you can.”