Police urge parents to check kids’ whereabouts
DRUGS paraphernalia, discarded cider cans and blackened embers are among evidence causing concern to Cheadle police.
Underage drinking and fire-setting are posing serious risks to young people in a remote part of town.
Officers are also very concerned that teenage girls could be vulnerable if they are plied with alcohol in the isolated spot.
Woodland at Cheadle Park between Monkhouse and Leek Road, has become a hot spot for younger people to congregate in recent weeks.
However, a destructive mix of alcohol, fire-setting and vandalism has prompted police in the town to step up patrols in the area.
More than 17 reports about rowdiness and nuisance have been made to police in recent weeks.
The Times and Echo accompanied PCSO Mark Bridgwood and PCSO Alison Nowicki on patrol in a bid to find out more.
On a short walk around the woodland, signs of drinking, fire-setting and possible drug use are easy to see.
PCSO Bridgwood said: “It is a big concern. This is still an exclusion zone, so nobody should be drinking up here.
“We are asking parents if they know their teenagers might be up here? Are they supposedly staying at a friends house?
“Parents need to be aware of how much alcohol is in the house and be making sure it’s still there, as a lot of younger people do bring it from home.”
Heaps of litter have been left around the woodland, which has dozens of dips and gullies which pose a potential hazard to young people up there after dark.
Areas of undergrowth, branches and even trees show blatant signs of fire damage, while discarded tobacco wrappings and baggies indicate possible drug use.
Officers have stepped up patrols and dispersed groups of young people after reports of roughhousing, litter and damage.
PCSO Bridgwood explained that restricted access to the woodland presented problems to ambulance and fire crews in the event of an emergency.
Gnarly terrain offers youngsters plenty of places to scatter and hide when police attempt to disperse them – but could also make it easy for large groups to lose a member without realising it.
PCSO Nowicki added: “Sometimes, we think when we disperse groups, there is relief for some kids – they’ve got in too deep.
“We are concerned about underage drinking and rowdiness causing problems for other residents.
“But it’s also a concern for the safety and well-being of young people – particularly if younger teenage girls are coming up here and being offered alcohol.
“I would suggest to anyone who thinks they might have got in too deep to feign illness. Say they are feeling unwell and need to go home.”
To report any concerns, telephone Staffordshire Police on 101. In an emergency, dial 999.
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