Five young people wearing masks threw bricks, concrete blocks, wood and manhole covers off a bridge near Longwell Green into the path of traffic on the ring road below.
Police say it was one of a series of incidents committed in the Longwell Green and Oldland Common area in the early hours of Wednesday and comes after weeks of problems with anti-social behaviour in the area involving children as young as nine.
They made arrests overnight as part of a proactive policing operation in response to what they describe as “dangerous and reckless” anti-social behaviour offences. Two 15-year-old boys were arrested for breaching a dispersal order put in place on Wednesday to help officers proactively tackle anti-social behaviour problems in the Barrs Court, Longwell Green and Oldland Common area.
The boys were collected from custody by their parents and no further action will be taken. In addition, an 18-year-old man was given a street caution for possessing cannabis, while a 16-year-old boy was arrested and street bailed for the same offence. The dispersal order will remain in place for this weekend.
As well as items being thrown off a bridge over the A4174 near Longwell Green into the path of oncoming traffic, there were problems with debris being thrown in the Oldland Common area on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Chief Inspector Mark Evans said: “Some of the anti-social behaviour occurring in the area is extremely serious and could result in fatal consequences. This is highly dangerous and reckless behaviour and we’re taking action to ensure these types of incidents do not re-occur in the future.
“Up until now we’ve been using dispersal powers to move on those causing problems but we’ve now reached the stage where we’re making arrests with the intention of bringing offenders to justice for their actions.
“I’m appealing directly to parents to ensure they know where there children are, as this anti-social behaviour is occurring late into the night and the early hours of the morning. We believe some of those involved are as young as nine. I’d ask parents to have honest and frank conversations with their children about the potentially damaging consequences of getting involved in disruptive or criminal behaviour, as just one reckless action could have a lasting impact.
“There will be additional patrols of the affected area as part of a proactive policing plan. Preventing anti-social behaviour is one of our Force priorities and we’ll take all necessary measures, using all the powers and tools available to us, including making arrests, to ensure the local community and road users are kept safe.”
As The Week In has been reporting in recent weeks, large groups of teenagers, some with alcohol and drugs, have been gathering on Friday and Saturday nights in the play area at Barrs Court and in other localities. Residents have been intimidated, property damaged and there have been fights, assaults and robberies.
The problems of anti-social behaviour area will be debated at a multi-agency meeting later this month. Five local secondary schools are being invited to send representatives to the meeting which will be attended by the police, South Gloucestershire Council officers, including the anti-social behaviour (ASB) team, local councillors and other stakeholders, such as McDonald’s at Aspects Leisure Park, where young people sometimes congregate in large numbers.