Anti-social behaviour and drugs is killing Preston Businesses

Tonin Paluca joins staff from David Thomas Hair Salon.
Tonin Paluca joins staff from David Thomas Hair Salon.
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Preston business owners say anti social behaviour on Guildhall street is killing their livelihoods.

Palucas coffee shop opened there in September 2017. But owner Tonin Paluca says his business is being blighted by youths urinating or taking drugs in the street outside.

Tonin Paluca

Tonin Paluca

Despite a meeting for all business owners being held in Fives bar and Grill in January, with members of Lancashire Police and Preston Council, Tonin says he is yet to see anything being done.

He says: “We asked the council to make the street presentable, not a drug and urinating street, but so far nothing has been done. `

Tonin, who owns the coffee shop with his wife Irene Riad, says youths hang around in the doorway opposite his business doing drug deals and often when he opens up in the morning he can see where they have urinated in the street outside.

He says: “It is killing my business.”

Chris Ferrie, 34, a manager at Fives agrees something needs to be done.

He said: “A big problem on this street is the homeless.

“Down the side of the bar building they sleep, fornicate, urinate and the amount of rubbish is horrendous.

David Thomas, who owns David Thomas Hair Salon, said in the 32 years he has had his business the last six months have been the worst. He said: “I love Preston, it is an amazing city - but it is being abused.”

Janine James, 45, who owns Victoria’s Vault boutique says she too worries about both her young female customers and her daughter Jessie James, 21, who works part-time in the shop.

She says: “What was the fire exit for BHS is opposite my shop and people congregate in the doorway shooting up drugs and weeing.

“My customers are mainly young girls and my daughter is only in her twenties.

“When people are hanging around it gets a bit worrying.”

Inspector Helen Dixon of Preston Police, said: “The term ‘anti-social behaviour’ covers a range of offences including, but not limited to, vandalism, hate crime, fireworks misuse, hoax calls and alcohol or drugs being used or dealt in the street. It also includes reports of street drinking and begging.

“It can involve harm to an individual, to the wider community or to the environment, and can leave victims feeling harassed, alarmed or distressed.

“We understand that this can have a profound impact on victims and how safe they feel in their neighbourhood, and we – along with partners such as the fire service, social housing landlords and other community safety agencies – are committed to tackling this type of crime. We do so in a number of ways.

“Our response teams carry out a night safe operation every Friday and Saturday night where we target issues of anti-social behaviour including drink-related issues and public disorder.

“We are part of a multi-agency team dedicated to helping those who sleep rough on our streets. The operation offers people the support they need to get into accommodation and seek any additional services, such as support for drug or alcohol issues. Preston is also part of Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) – a strategy to help vulnerable adults with a view to making positive changes to improve their lives.

“Drug dealing and taking is not tolerated in our communities. We actively target people involved in such activity and respond to any reported incidents and intelligence that we receive. I would urge anyone with any information about “suspicious activity to let us know or tell Crime stoppers anonymously.

“We take the concerns of local people seriously and our city centre team will be making contact with businesses to discuss the issues they have raised.”

A spokesperson for Preston City Council said: “We work continuously with the Business Improvement District, Lancashire Police and Lancashire County Council to help local businesses prosper and to make Preston an inviting and welcoming city.”