Underage drinkers driving out skaters

Council workers and police engage with youngsters at the Shoreham skate park
Council workers and police engage with youngsters at the Shoreham skate park

A PARENT says young skaters and BMX riders are being forced out of a skate park by older troublemakers fuelled by drink and drugs.

The man, who does not want to be named, said youngsters, including his step son, were fed up because groups of older teenagers with no interest in skating were taking over the Ham Road park.

He said youths smoked cannabis, drank beer and intimidated younger skaters.

“There’s no need for them to be there at all,” he said.

“They’re just loitering around, making a mess, and then all the youngsters get a bad name. My stepson has come back five or six times saying ‘it’s ridiculous, you can’t even ride down there’.

“That facility was built for the community and skaters, and people down there are stopping that happening.”

Police and the council have joined forces to tackle the issue and a Local Action Team has been talking to skaters at the park.

Inspector Allan Lowe of the Adur and Worthing neigbourhood policing team said the park was important for young people.

“Effort will be made to ensure that it is used for recreation and enjoyment and not for any anti-social activity,” said Insp Lowe.

He said the team wanted to talk to youngsters who used the park to ensure they could enjoy themselves in a safe environment.

Skate park user Paul Parsons said it was a ‘unique and challenging facility’ where riders could meet up, ride together, hang out and socialise, and a ‘national skate treasure’, high on the must-visit list for many national and even international skaters.

“It generates money and awareness of our community, plus some great excitment for all our own skaters too,” said Paul.

“The user group has tried its best to look after and maintain the skate park for everyone to enjoy. Sadly, when a bunch of lurker kids abuse the whole facility, it makes you think twice about giving up your spare time when nothing is being done to protect our skate park.”

A 16-year-old Shoreham youngster, who chose to remain anonymous, disagreed and said the park was a social place to visit.

“I feel safer here than in some other places because there are always lots of people about,” he said.

“I think the biggest problem here is people leaving things behind when they leave and not putting their litter in the bin.”