POCKETS of Poole are becoming hot spots for antisocial behaviour, latest police figures suggest.

The issue has returned to the top of the national agenda after mother Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter after being tormented by thugs at their Leicestershire home.

Dorset Police received 25 per cent more calls relating to antisocial behaviour in north Poole, between June and August this year, compared with the same period in 2008.

Even Borough of Poole’s antisocial behaviour team co-ordinator, Ian Cooke, admits hot spots have sprung up around the borough.

But he insists: “There has been a decline across the town as a whole.”

In particular, parts of Rossmore and Canford Heath are bearing the brunt of the trouble – which is mainly caused by drunken groups of teens, petty vandalism, minor theft, threats and intimidation.

And dispersal orders have been secured for emerging trouble spots within Canford Heath and Rossmore.

At Canford Heath, in March, a 15-year-old girl sustained cigarette burns to her face after being attacked by a gang. This happened close to the boundaries of a dispersal order, set up after increased reports of abusive and intimidating behaviour directed at residents using Asda and the neighbourhood centre.

Meanwhile, another dispersal order – giving police the power to move on groups of two or more people causing problems – was recently secured for Rossmore in the area including Tesco Express and the church.

Mr Cooke said: “The dispersal order outside Tesco Express in Rossmore, for example, has alleviated the problems as there are no longer the people causing a nuisance as there was before.”

But nearby traders say police are still called to the area “as regular as clockwork”.

And beleaguered residents believe the dispersal order has simply moved the problem into surrounding streets – the same streets where they live.

Marie Ruffell, of the recently formed Stanfield Close Residents’ Association, said: “People just don’t feel safe in their homes. Everyone is concerned by these groups of young people congregating – I’m 39 years old but I don’t like coming in late at night. Some of my elderly neighbours are a lot more worried.”

Neighbours in Rossmore complain of teenagers having sex in communal gardens, general intimidation and even human waste being found in bushes.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why certain areas breed antisocial behaviour – but many residents feel a lack of parental control is to blame.

One Rossmore resident, who didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “These kids are just out of control. They have no respect. They are simply not punished enough. No one seems to care.”

Mr Cooke says the council is working hard to tackle the really hardcore trouble-makers.

“We are developing projects to target these groups – encouraging positive behaviour and working with families to give help with parenting,” he said.

“If they don’t work, we are threatening to take away people’s tenancies.”

He says if young people won’t change their behaviour, then the agencies on the ground have to make them change.

“There are still people living in streets in Rossmore being subjected to antisocial behaviour,” he said.

“And that is an area we are targeting right now.

“We are listening to neighbours through the Safer Neighbourhood process and know who is causing these problems.

“I would hate to think a Poole family like the Pilkingtons could fall through the net – there are lessons to be learned from every complex case.”

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