Police action over nuisance vagrants

PUBLISHED: 11:57 16 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

POLICE are getting tough with vagrants who are congregating in the cathedral grounds, drinking and abusing shoppers and tourists. Shopkeepers fear their actions are driving away business and they have called the police and complained to the district counc

POLICE are getting tough with vagrants who are congregating in the cathedral grounds, drinking and abusing shoppers and tourists.

Shopkeepers fear their actions are driving away business and they have called the police and complained to the district council.

One trader who asked not to be named said: "They are drinking all day long and sitting around. By the end of the day there can be 30 or more and they are so drunk they become quite abusive.

"They are discouraging the tourists. Families can't come to the green and picnic on the lawn and all the seats are taken up by these people."

Now Ely police have issued a dispersal order giving them the power to move on or split up groups of two or more people who are like to cause anti-social behaviour. If they refuse to leave or come back within 24 hours they can be arrested.

East Cambridgeshire anti social behaviour co-ordinator, Brian Tully, said: "There are two or three vagrants gathering in the area causing a disturbance with insulting behaviour and making unacceptable comments. They are acting as a magnet for other people.

"They have been gathering in the cathedral grounds playing football and damaging the cathedral windows. It creates an undesirable place for tourists and people who want to enjoy this area."

The order came into effect at midnight on Tuesday and runs until the end of October.

It covers Palace Green, The Gallery, Coronation Parade, Steeple Row, Cross Green, the south car park, East Lane and the Almonry Gardens.

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