The problems surrounding the homeless shelter in Lyndhurst Road were once again the main topic discussed at the meeting of the East Worthing Community Panel last Tuesday, and these show little sign of abating.
Aggressive begging, fighting and criminal damage were also reported and needles had been found in Beach House Park. The shelter was described as a drink and drugs den with people coming in at all hours of night.
Some attendees felt that they had been abandoned by the police and the council.
One local businessman said that when he offered to supply footage showing people dealing drugs to the police they did not want to know, and another attendee said that a dedicated number had been supplied by the police but this did not record complaints.
Selden ward councillor Keith Bickers reported that five of the residents at the shelter had been evicted for drug dealing and that a Public Space Protection Order was in force to deal with begging. He had also raised the issue with East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne.
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He reminded attendees of the council out-of-hours emergency number – 07713 889128 – and the need to report the discovery of syringes and needles to the council waste management team.
On average, it took 40 minutes to get through to the police when using the 101 number and 45 per cent of calls received had nothing to do with reporting criminal activity, thereby wasting police time and causing delay to genuine users.
It was generally considered that the number of residents at the shelter was too large for the limited number of staff affordable by Turning Tides, formerly Worthing Churches Homeless Projects, to cope with their many and complex needs, and that the issue would have to be resolved by Christmas.
Representatives of Turning Tides and the police will be at the next panel meeting on October 30.
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