SPECIAL REPORT: Truth about drug takers on Skegness streets

Insp Bennison is approached regarding an alleged incident. ANL-180208-123221001
Insp Bennison is approached regarding an alleged incident. ANL-180208-123221001

A trickle of blood glistened on the man’s forehead as he fronted up to Skegness’s coast inspector alleging he’d been robbed near Skegness beach.

There had been a row between a group who had been drinking on a bench near the railway station and the commotion had caught our attention during a walkabout in the resort.

A homeless person is advised about begging in the streets. ANL-180208-123042001

A homeless person is advised about begging in the streets. ANL-180208-123042001

It was the first example we had seen of any form of anti-social behaviour in the town - in spite of Facebook claims of drug takers lying on benches spaced out on Spice and concern about drinking in the streets.

The blood from the man’s head continued to drip on his T-shirt but the man insisted he did not want to make a complaint With families also seated in the area, Insp Matt Bennison called on his radio for assistance so the incident could be recorded and stayed with the group to make sure the situation had calmed down.

“You have to expect situations like this when you are in a seaside resort and people start drinking early in the day,” he said.”But it is nowhere as bad as people make out on Facebook.

“I’m not saying there isn’t a problem - we live in a deprived area and there is going to be drinking and drugs.

Shelters used by drug takers and drinkers - in view of CCTV cameras. ANL-180208-123110001

Shelters used by drug takers and drinkers - in view of CCTV cameras. ANL-180208-123110001

“But instead of going on Facebook straight away and saying why don’t the police do something about it would be useful if they called us first so we can act.”

Since the Dispersal Orders came into force last year the word has got around and this summer not one has been issued.

“We work with the local authority to deal with issues. Benches at the top of Lumley Road that had caused us a particular problem have now been removed which has proved effective.”

Our walkabout took us to the hotspots where there had been reports of people spaced out on Spice - Tower Gardens, in shelters on the sea front, the Prince George Street area and the railway station.

PCSO Michelle Collins looks down Prince George Street - an alleged hotspot for drinkers and drug takerrs. ANL-180208-123144001

PCSO Michelle Collins looks down Prince George Street - an alleged hotspot for drinkers and drug takerrs. ANL-180208-123144001

A homeless man sat begging on the seafront and Insp Bennison spoke to him to check he had not been verbally asking people for money. We later learned from engagement officers promoting the Sandi Starfish campaign to reunite lost children with their parents that action had been taken to disperse him.

Along the route there was no evidence of any drug abuse - such as discarded needles - or any cans left by drinkers. Insp Bennison said: “To be fair East Lindsey (council) are very good at clearing up but people make out there is an epidemic of drug abuse in Skegness and that just isn’t true.

“During the football (World Cup) when we had more resources on duty we checked some reports of people on spaced out on drugs on benches and they were just having a nap in the sun. But someone can post a picture of that on Facebook and it tells a completely different story.”

To help the police fight crime in Skegness, report incidents on 101. In an emergency dial 999.

Engagement officers promoting the Sandi Starfish campaign. ANL-180208-123127001

Engagement officers promoting the Sandi Starfish campaign. ANL-180208-123127001