Hawkinge roller disco mob faces Kent police crackdown

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Young people
Image caption,
Under the order, police can make groups of two or more leave the area and not return for 24 hours

New powers have been introduced to tackle troublemakers who flock to a Kent village's roller disco.

Kent Police said a dispersal order covering Hawkinge near Folkestone would run for six months.

Officers said they had no problem with the event organisers and the vast majority of people were well-behaved.

But they said a "small but significant number" of young people headed to the Friday night event from Folkestone, Lydd and New Romney.

They have seen a rise in the number of assaults, criminal damage and public order offences over the past six weeks.

Residents have also complained about groups of youths gathering outside Tesco supermarket, drinking alcohol and intimidating passers-by.

'Great facility'

Pc John Weller, of Kent Police, said the decision to introduce the order had not been taken lightly.

He said: "There is a successful roller disco in Hawkinge on Friday nights which is a great facility for young people and one that's enjoyed by many in the village.

"Unfortunately there is a small but significant number of young people who use it as an excuse to cause anti-social behaviour."

Under the order, police can make groups of two or more leave the area and not return for 24 hours.

'Being abusive'

If they refuse or return within this time they may be arrested and charged.

A force spokesman said officers would use their discretion to ensure the majority of young people were able to enjoy the event, targeting only those being abusive or drinking alcohol.

Colin Tearle, the chief executive of Hawkinge Community Centre, said he welcomed the police powers.

"This culture has got to stop and stop right now," he said.

However, Mr Tearle said he believed the troublemakers did not come into the community centre but gathered outside.

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