Dozens of cannabis plants seized from Doncaster drugs house: Police column

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We're actively targeting Stainforth for special attention after concerns were raised by colleagues and partner agencies about recent incidents in the area, writes Insp Mark Payling in a new column for the Doncaster Free Press

As a result of these concerns, we convened a meeting with representatives from Doncaster Council, St Leger Homes and South Yorkshire Fire Service, who all highlighted incidents and issues they had been made aware of.

Police story

Police story

We have since completed a letter drop across much of Stainforth encouraging local residents to contact us and tell us about their concerns. This has led to more information being received about anti social issues which had not been reported previously. We are now addressing these issues and have been targeting antisocial behaviour, drugs dealing, nuisance bikes, and fly tipping whilst encouraging more people to come forward with any issues they may have.

We have seen some success, too.

We have executed three warrants to carry out raids over drugs, and during a visit to another property, we found 60 cannabis plants. People around East Lane had complained of the smell, and could hear fans whirring.

All that has been in the last month.

We have also been dealing with off road bike problems in the Stainforth area. The off road bike team, officers who ride off road bikes themselves, have been in Stainforth a number of times, and they've identified some people and issued notices to off road bikers. They also recovered a stolen motorbike earlier this month after the rider dropped it and ran off when our officers arrived.

Someone recently stole spare parts and a moped from a back alley near Princes Crescent. They had been left unattended overnight. The number of bikes that have been taken in the area is noticeable.

It is important to make sure you have a good lock for your motorbike, and if possible to park in a well lit area or near closed circuit television cameras.

As far as antisocial behaviour is concerned, we saw a 50 per cent rise in Stainforth in July, compared to June. It was up to 32, compared to 22 in June. This is not as alarming as it might first sound and I believe some of the increase is down to us actively encouraging local resident to call us.

However, some of this increase is down to the school summer holidays and we have seen groups of young people gathering. They may not be doing anything wrong, but sometimes local residents find this intimidating and concerning. However, there have been some instances where they may be noisy or drinking. There have been some incidents where things have been thrown or something damaged, and that has been put down to these groups, but there was no evidence that it was them.

For the wider Doncaster East area, antisocial behaviour is down, with 158 incidents reported in July 2018 compared to 268 in the same month last year. I think we have been patrolling hot spot areas more prominently, but perhaps the hot weather has had a calming effect.

We have seen a spike in cases of anti social behaviour in Armthorpe. We had 16 incidents between August 6 and August 19, which was far more than we normally see. We are aware of some complaints of youngsters aged around 10 to 13 throwing things at cars in the Wickett Hern Road area. We have put patrols in to that location and those will continue to do so.

Burglary reports in Armthorpe have fallen over the past six weeks following four recent arrests.

There has also been an issue with nuisance fires with rubbish fires and fields deliberate set alight. There was a high profile fire on the former Hatfield Colliery spoil heap in Stainforth, with the smoke visible from miles away. We suspect this to have been deliberately started. Thankfully this has yet to cause major damage, but we want this to stop before it causes major damage to property to danger to life.

The final thing that we have taken action over is fly tipping in Stainforth and this has been done jointly with Doncaster Council. We received quite a few reports of fly tipping in Stainforth and a few specific areas were identified where this seemed to be an issue. This work led to 7 community protection notice warning letters being issued to local tenants who responded to them by clearing their gardens etc. Another four tenants received visits and responded to warning letters. However, two people were reported for offences by DMBC colleagues. Five gardens were also cleared after warning notices were served. We aslo stopped twenty vehicles in Stainforth and verbal advice was given to a number. One person was issued with a £300 notice for failing to have a waste carriers licence and five others received warning notices.

Speeding fines

We recently trained our neighbourhood PCs in the use of speed detection equipment. Previously the radar guns had been only used by PCSOs who don't have the power to arrest and issue tickets. However, our PCs can stop cars and issue tickets, and have now started to do so. After we had reports of speeding vehicles on Marshland Road and Grange Road in Thorne, and East Lane and Station Road in Thorne, we have taken action.

It is an extra weapon on our armoury in dealing with speeding motorists.

We have had PCs operating the equipment for a couple of months now and around a dozen fines have been issued as a result. We will be doing more, and certainly anyone doing over 35mph in a 30 area should be worried.