It was a mixture of good and bad news at the latest meeting of the Central Ward Neighbourhood Panel last Thursday evening at the Ardington Hotel.
Sergeant Craig Burgess reported that Operation Tinsel, which was aimed at reducing shoplifting over the Christmas period, had proved very successful with cases down, shoppers feeling safer, and businesses expressing their appreciation.
Sussex Police now has 21 PCSOs, so is up to full capacity, distributed between Ferring and Shoreham, but Worthing town centre will always be well represented.
A small gang of young women known as the “Worthing Girl Gang”, responsible for a number of acts of criminal damage and assaults on police officers, has been banned from Worthing but is now causing trouble in Lancing. This is however being covered by Sussex Police.
Sergeant Burgess also referred to the practice of ”cuckooing” whereby drug dealers from London are invading the homes of vulnerable people (often on the pretext of selling drugs to the owners) with the objective of using the premises as a drug dealing base.
As many as eight such properties in Worthing had been identified.
If there are unauthorised people within any given premises, that amounts to a criminal offence; so, as ever, all NHW members (and anyone else, for that matter) are encouraged to report their suspicions to Sussex Police.
Homelessness remained a very serious problem and at least 15 people were being turned away from the night shelter every night.
Councillor Roger Uttley said that a new shelter had to be established as soon as possible to stop the growth in the number of people sleeping rough.
Many cars were reported as going the wrong way in Warwick Road, and Mr Uttley said that this should properly be reported to West Sussex County Council rather than the police.
Budgets, however, were tight and therefore resources available to address the problem were restricted.
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