A pet shop owner in Littlehampton said he felt ‘abandoned’ by the police after what he described as a rise in street drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Mike Ricard-Worth, owner of Littlehampton Exotics in the High Street, said: “We feel a bit abandoned as a town.
“We have seen a lack of police, obviously just because there isn’t enough of them, but ultimately when we call nobody comes.
He said the criteria for police to be called out was for a certain number of items to be stolen in one incident, which they were ‘struggling with’, and felt there were not enough business wardens – people with limited police powers – in the town centre, particularly to combat the ‘terrible, terrible problem with street drinking’.
Chief Inspector for Arun, Jon Carter said: “As the new District Commander I am aware of concerns being raised by members of the public around anti-social behaviour connected to the consumption of alcohol. In response to this we will be conducting targeted patrols within Littlehampton and ensure the full range of policing powers available to us are used.
“We are working with partnership agencies to tackle this anti-social behaviour and we all need to work together to robustly tackle this behaviour, in particular around the responsible sale of alcohol.
“I would strongly urge members of the public to report matters of anti-social behaviour to us via 101 or online to help inform those targeted patrols.”
Simon Vickers, chairman of the Littlehampton Traders’ Partnership, praised the new chief inspector and Sussex Police’s efforts and said: “There is lots of work going on behind the scenes. We are aware of the situations, but far from feeling abandoned, there are lots of positives.”
Mr Vickers said a dedicated PCSO had been appointed for Littlehampton who started work on Monday, and traders were investing in digital radios to make reporting crimes easier.
They were also using a crime reporting phone app called DISC which correlated reported crimes and made it easier for the authorities to build a bigger picture of the situation in the town centre.
He said the partnership was also pushing for the town centre to make an alcohol exclusion zone, and was working with Arun Disrict Council on this.