Police pledge extra patrols in Canada Water after spate of youths throwing fireworks

Josh Salisbury (08 October, 2020)

There is concern about where the fireworks are from, as they are not yet on sale

39462A video still of the alleged group of troublemakers

Police have pledged extra patrols in Canada Water after a string of antisocial behaviour, including youths throwing fireworks in public.

Fed-up residents and businesses surrounding the plaza have raised the alarm with cops, following a string of incidents last week.

Officers put a dispersal order in place at the weekend, but residents alleged they were reluctant to arrest the perpetrators, because they are minors.

Footage taken by residents show youths on bikes throwing fireworks at each other in broad daylight.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, told this paper: “It’s been going on for ages. It was low-level stuff, but now it’s getting scary.

“They’re discharging fireworks at the library, into businesses and at members of the public. It’s kind of like, what was the bloody point of putting it in place [the dispersal order] if you’re not willing to enforce it?

“It’s only a matter of time before one of these fireworks seriously injures someone.”

Paul Graham, owner of Ledbelly’s bar, which is on the square, said staff and customers were being continuously harassed by a group of youngsters, with the bar calling police several times last week.

“It’s been brewing for a long time, the past six months really,” he said, speaking after a meeting with police at the bar on Monday.

“The kids are quite menacing, they’ve been chucking things at buses and you can imagine what happens if they swerve.

“If you were heading to Ledbelly’s and you saw a firework fly past, you wouldn’t think, ‘I want to go there.’

“There was a dispersal notice over the weekend but the police said if they arrest them because they’re only fourteen, sixteen, they let them go. It’s a complete waste of time.”

Another concern is the portable gas canisters used by food trucks on the plaza. “One of the food vans usually parked on the Plaza has packed up and left because of the amount of crime,” said one resident.

“He has gas canisters on site and with fireworks being thrown at members of the public, the risk of losing his livelihood was simply too high.”

A nearby development, Maple Quays, has private security which has gone some way to deterring acts of antisocial behaviour, but residents say that can’t be enough.

“They’re limited by what they can do,” said Mr Graham.

Inspector Tom Cornish, of Southwark Police, said officers intended to step up patrols to deter the youths.

“Police have received reports from residents and businesses about recent anti-social behaviour in the Canada Water area,” he said.

“We are developing key information about the individuals involved and working closely with Southwark Council to remedy the situation.

“We also intend to target the area with extra police resources both overt and in plain clothes.”

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