Police in Kirkby are calling on residents to help them crack crime in the town.
bThe appeal follows stinging criticism from locals who have blasted police for not helping them oppose the granting of an alcohol licence at an off licence in the town.
The application was submitted to Ashfield District Council by the owners of the shop at 43 Central Avenue for a licence to sell alcohol from 6am until 11.30pm seven days a week.
Residents objected to the plans and a petition was also gathered over fears that serving alcohol so late would increase alcohol and drug-related anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood.
The council’s licensing sub-committee met last week where the application was approved.
Speaking after the hearing David Arnold, who owns the nearby Kingsway Stores and represented residents, said: “We are disgusted that there was not a councillor from the Kirkby area on the panel and that the police raised no objections when numerous complaints (of drug abuse) were put in.”
However Kirkby police sergeant Steven Brownley told Chad that though there had been a spate of criminal damage on Central Avenue when some car tyres were slashed, that ‘can’t be linked to alcohol or alcohol fuelled behaviour’.
Sgt Brownley also said that police were not aware of a drugs problem in the area.
“We have had only one report of drug use in that area in the last year and that was dealt with,” he said.
“For us to put objections in against somebody’s business, we have to have evidence to justify the objections we put in.
“There was nothing sufficient for us to object to.”
Sgt Brownley said that if the police was made aware of drug deals taking place then appropriate action would be taken.
He added: “Residents need to report crime either to the police or Crimestoppers so we can investigate it.
“If we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything about it.”
Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Clarke also stressed the importance of people reporting crimes that they witness.
He said: “We will up patrols in the area as a result of the change, in a bid to provide reassurance and deter crime, but as long as this new premises operates within its licence and within the law we hope it will not result in any problems.
“Illegal drugs damage our communities. They compromise people’s health and they fuel further crime. We are incredibly proactive when it comes to any intelligence we receive about illegal drug activity and as a result last year we executed 56 drugs warrants in the Kirkby area with some positive results.”