Page last updated at 08:03 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 09:03 UK

Police tackle tombstoning youths

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John Dowsett and Chris Woodward speak of what they have witnessed by the harbour

Youths tombstoning from harbour walls in Folkestone have led to police enforcing a dispersal order.

Kent Police applied for a Designated Dispersal Order at Folkestone Harbour after trawler men and the harbour authority reported the problem.

The youths had caused problems by jumping in to the sea from harbour walls, interfering with boats, and causing a nuisance, officers said.

The dispersal order, which came into force on Friday, runs until 2 October.

Acting Sgt John Weller, from the Shepway Neighbourhood Policing Unit, said: "This gives the police a discretionary power to move trouble-makers on, which is something we can't otherwise do unless they are committing specific offences.

"For example, jumping from the harbour wall is not a criminal offence but a civil one."

He said the order was an extra tool that police could use to deal with young people and adults who persisted in causing a nuisance and spoiling enjoyment for others.

And he said experience had shown that dispersal orders were effective at reducing anti-social behaviour.



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