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Ramsgate criminal gangs and drug dealers are becoming scourge

By Paul Francis

Criminal gangs fighting and dealing drugs in parts of Ramsgate are a scourge on the town at night, it has been claimed.

Cllr Trevor Shonk (Ukip), who represents the area on Thanet council, raised the problem of disorder and anti-social behaviour in the town at a meeting of the Kent and Medway crime panel.

Mr Shonk said the scale of anti-social behaviour was increasing to the extent that it felt like the town was being handed over to gangs.

Police have been cracking down on anti-social behaviour blighting Margate. Picture: Getty Images
Police have been cracking down on anti-social behaviour blighting Margate. Picture: Getty Images

He also told the meeting that he rarely if ever saw a uniformed officer on patrol.

“Anti social behaviour is a real scourge of Thanet..we have people dealing drugs day and night and you can see the [discarded] packets, people waiting in alleyways.

"My biggest concern is the night time economy, we have a problem in Harbour Street, there is absolutely awful street fighting. You can’t believe it.”

“People who have bars, taxi services are affected. Ramsgate is a wonderful place but residents feel that we are handing the town over to feral gangs at night time.”

"We have people dealing drugs day and night and you can see the [discarded] packets, people waiting in alleyways" - Trevor Shonk

He recounted an incident in which he had witnessed a group of men attacking another man and beaten him up.

“When you see it [fighting] in real life it is dreadful, seeing four or five people attack one person is awful.”

Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott said he would raise the issue and would make a return visit to see the situation for himself.

“We see a lot of problems coming down from London, particularly around drugs and knife crime. The night-time economy does present us with problems, particularly when people have had one too many [drinks]. That does blight the lives of residents.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I think it is very important we work together on reducing demand on policing that is caused by the night-time economy.

Police called to an incident in Ramsgate. Pic: Emma Jane Nettleingham
Police called to an incident in Ramsgate. Pic: Emma Jane Nettleingham

"I have given an undertaking to Trevor Shonk to work with the local [police] team to give a better response and reassure residents that Kent Police is on their side and dealing with criminals and others who are causing these problems.”

Kent Police has identified the increasing number of London gangs crossing into Kent over what are called county lines, often to exploit vulnerable young people.

District Commander for Thanet, Chief Inspector Sharon Adley, said: "We have dedicated officers and PCSOs who have a good working relationship with local residents and businesses in Ramsgate and work to ensure there is a visible presence in the town to tackle any reported issues.

"When concerns have been received about groups of people causing disturbances and congregating in the town, we have provided additional patrols, used dispersal orders, and worked closely with partner agencies to reduce any risk of anti-social behaviour.

"We appreciate Ramsgate may be seen as a great town to socialise in during the evenings and we ask that those doing so, remember to show consideration for other people and their own welfare, and behave in a safe and responsible manner.

"We also expect licensees to play their part and promote responsible drinking in a safe environment. We carry out regular checks of licensed premises to ensure they stick to the conditions of the licences, and where concerns are felt, we liaise with the council to review those licences.

"We are dedicated to proactively pursuing and disrupting anyone attempting to come into the county to take part in organised criminal activity including drug dealing and we take a zero-tolerance approach to gang-related crime and work with neighbouring forces to target known offenders.

"In order to assist our officers, I ask that residents report any suspicious activity that they believe might be drug-related as it provides valuable information in identifying any particular areas of concern.

"Likewise, if anyone witnesses incidents involving anti-social behaviour, report it immediately by calling 999."

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