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Police target drunks, drugs and metal raids
Norton may be one of the safest towns in which to live but Ryedale’s inspector has stressed there is no room for complacency.
Insp Andy Everitt, who has been in charge of policing the area since April, told members of the town council that there were 1,550 reported crimes across Ryedale last year, amounting to three or four incidents a day, ranging from thefts to assaults.
He said: “Malton and Norton accounts for about a third of this figure and, compared with other areas, is one of the safest, if not the safest, region in which to live.
“However, I am aware that with the ongoing recession and high unemployment, crimes such as thefts and burglaries are going to be a challenge we must deal with.”
Insp Everitt said the problem was people coming from outside the area including Newcastle, Cleveland, Hull and Leeds who were looking for the opportunity to steal items, particularly scrap metal.
“The price of scrap metal has gone through the roof and travelling criminals are coming into Ryedale looking for metal which they can then take out of the area where it cannot be checked,” he added.
“Also, bigger areas have been saturated which is why they are now targeting the Ryedale area.”
Insp Everitt said police were working hard to tackle the issue through Operation Tornado and with CCTV on the A64 to monitor vehicles coming in and out of the area.
A further area of crime the inspector is keen to target is anti-social behaviour as part of the night-time economy in Norton and Malton.
He said: “Violent crime was on the same level as last year, then over the Easter weekend it went a bit silly.
“Since then, we have been working to revive the Pubwatch scheme and work together with licensees and door staff, so that if someone causes problems in Norton they do not then go on to pubs in Malton.”
Insp Everitt said they aim to get all licensees on board with the result that a person barred from one pub will automatically be barred from all premises in the area for a period of at least six-12 months.
“If people feel safe, they are more likely to come into the pubs and restaurants which has a benefit for the area,” he said.
Insp Everitt said the force also takes a proactive stance against drugs and drug dealing.
“We recently had a significant drugs find in Norton of 98 cannabis plants but this does not mean that there are more drugs in the area but that people are reporting anything suspicious to us.
“We will continue to seek out those people who peddle drugs in our towns,” he stressed.
Members of the council thanked Insp Everitt for speaking at the meeting and highlighted a number of their own concerns, including dog fouling, speeding through the town and parking.
Deputy mayor Ray King told the meeting: “If more was to be done on enforcing the 20mph speed limit and parking issues in Commercial Street, I am sure word would spread quickly and these offences would be reduced.”