Police operation to tackle ‘cannabis smoking’ moped rowdies hailed a success

This fence in Clayhall Park was set on fire in May.

This fence in Clayhall Park was set on fire in May. - Credit: Ellena Cruse

There has been “a massive decrease” in anti-social behaviour by group of youths who allegedly raced motorbikes, smoked cannabis and set a fence on fire in Clayhall Park, following a 48-hour police operation.

Police applied for a dispersal Zone in Clayhall and Redbridge. Picture Met Police

Police applied for a dispersal Zone in Clayhall and Redbridge. Picture Met Police - Credit: Met police

Residents and shopkeepers had contacted the police to express their concern about a group of young people who were “quite rowdy until late at night” near Grasmere Gardens.

After increased police patrols the gang moved to Clayhall Park, Longwood Gardens.

Offices searched the area and found a knife hidden in a bush.

They then applied for a Section 35 Dispersal Order to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.

It gave police the power to stop groups from congregating and obtain personal details for “intelligence purposes”.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the young people were intimidating and would “loiter” by the children’s play area.

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“They didn’t care that there were kids about and would smoke weed by the playground,” she said.

“I have seen them a few times and they zip around on mopeds like they own the park – it was only a matter of time before there was an accident.”

Another resident said the young people were “generally harmless but a nuisance”.

“I am fed up having to make up explanations to my daughter about what that funny smell is,” he said.

“I am pleased the police are tackling it, it will make a big difference to my day to day living. It is a decent area.”

Pc Matt Graham was part of the two-day operation last month.

He said that since the order was granted there has been a massive decrease in anti-social behaviour and there are no longer large groups being noisy until late at night.

“The order has the impact that police had hoped for as it has stopped the group causing issues for the local residents and shopkeepers and they have now left the area.

“We have, however, continued to patrol the area with both uniformed and plain clothes officers. We will continue to do this, to try and stop any incidents like this happening again.”

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, said that while he was pleased that police took action to reduce anti-social behavior, his work on the issues is “just getting started”.

“Anti-social behaviour, including very visible drug dealing in our community, continues to be a big concern for local residents which is why I raised the issue with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner when I met her at New Scotland Yard recently,” he told the Recorder.

“I continue to worry about the impact that police funding cuts are having on visible community policing. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is investing in extra community police officers in Redbridge, but the Met needs more funding from the Government.”