Ribchester residents threatened and beauty spot blighted by antisocial behaviour

Posted on - 13th May, 2024 - 12:19pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News, Ribble Valley News
The River Ribble at Ribchester Pic: Blog Preston

A Ribble Valley councillor is calling for an anti-social behaviour action plan to be drawn up after a group of youths abused and intimidated villagers last weekend.

Ribchester residents spoke of their fear after being verbally abused and physically threatened by a group of youngsters drawn to the village during the warm weather on Saturday, May 11.

Cllr Karl Barnsley, the Ribble Valley Borough Council representative for Ribchester, said anti-social behaviour was ‘a perennial problem for the village’ during periods of warmer weather, with visitors particularly drawn to the banks of River Ribble.

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Cllr Barnsley said he had already called for an action plan to combat these problems, but this was now ‘urgent’ in light of the weekend’s flashpoints.

With reports of theft, drunken behaviour and even drug use, the banks of the River Ribble were left strewn with rubbish. It was even reported that empty glass beer bottles had been left buried in the soil by the river, posing the risk of serious injury to anyone who might have stood on them.

Local resident Deborah Austwick and husband Andy also told of how they were subjected to ‘frightening and menacing’ behaviour by a group of youths on Saturday evening.

Mrs Austwick said: “We were waiting for the 6.20pm bus so we could go an celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.

“While waiting for the Longridge bus there was a group of up to 25 lads, probably aged between 14 and 15, and they were throwing rubbish on the floor. Andy asked them to stop and use the bin instead.

“At that point they became abusive and started throwing stuff at my husband. When he asked them to stop, two or three of the ringleaders started swearing at us and abusing us.

“One of them became really aggressive and threatened physical violence towards Andy. It was really frightening and I was just so scared that one of them might have a knife.”

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Once the bus arrived, she said the youths pushed their way on, swearing at the driver as they did so. At that point he stepped off the bus and ordered them to get off as well, only for one them to force his way into the driver’s seat and attempt to barricade himself and others on the vehicle.

They eventually left the bus by the rear emergency exit and the police were called.

Some of the youths pictured on Water Street on Saturday. Pic: Mark Armstrong

Cllr Barnsley encouraged any residents experiencing such abuse to call 999, or 101 if non urgent.

He added: “I am calling for an anti-social behaviour action plan to be drawn up for Ribchester between the police, borough council and Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership to eradicate this problem and keep Ribchester enjoyable in the summer for residents and visitors alike.

“The police should robustly challenge any anti-social behaviour and I am calling for greater police presence during warm weather days.

“My message to all is that Ribchester welcomes visitors. We want people to enjoy the village and all its amenities, but do not abuse that hospitality. If any visitor cannot show Ribchester and its residents respect, then do not come, they will not be missed.”

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