Three youths arrested after bricks are hurled at taxis in Coppull
A zero tolerance crackdown on anti-social behaviour in Coppull has led to the arrest of three youths.
Police arrested the teenagers at the weekend on suspicion of criminal damage after bricks had been hurled at a number of taxis in recent weeks.
Shop owners had reported signs and windows being smashed by vandals and bus shelters around the village had also been targeted.
The attacks on taxi drivers led to some firms refusing to take customers to certain parts of Coppull, leaving people stranded in neighbouring towns and unable to get home.
The surge in anti-social behaviour led to the community demanding immediate action from Lancashire Police, and a series of public meetings were held to address the problem.
A police crackdown followed, with officers from the Chorley Local Policing Team and Taskforce going undercover in taxis and unmarked police cars to catch the culprits.
At the weekend, officers confirmed that three teenagers had been arrested for offences alleged to have been committed in early January.
One of the youths has been charged on suspicion of criminal damage and is due to appear at Preston Magistrates' Court today (February 3).
Two other teens have been bailed pending a decision from the Youth Offending Team.
The local policing team has hailed the ongoing operation as a success, but said it is "not naive enough to think that the problem has gone away".
Following the arrests, a police spokesman said: "Chorley Local Policing Team and Taskforce have conducted a two week long operation in an attempt to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Coppull.
"This was as a result of an increased level of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area over the Christmas period and into mid-January.
"By holding pop-in policing surgeries at the library we learned that the increasing incidents were resulting in taxi companies refusing to take fares to and from Coppull in fear of their taxis being attacked.
"As part of the operation, officers have worked tirelessly trying to collate evidence to deal with some of the offences.
"This has included statements from businesses and the public, CCTV trawls and working closely with some of the local taxi firms.
"The behaviour of a very small minority of youths had been having a huge impact on both the community of Coppull and the livelihood of the taxi drivers trying to earn an honest living.
"A number of youths have been stopped, spoken to and searched within the last two weeks.
"It’s going to be an ongoing operation, but we aren’t naive enough to think that the problem has gone away."
But the force said reports of anti-social behaviour has dropped significantly since the operation began.
"Since the start of the operation there has only been three incidents of ASB logged in the Coppull area", said a police spokesman.
"This shows that huge strides are being made in the right direction.
"But the hard work does not stop here. We need to continue to work together as a community.
"We will continue to work closely with Inspire youth team, local businesses and the local authority to maintain the recent low levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Officers also warned anyone considering engaging in anti-social activity to think twice under its new zero tolerance and covert approach.
"Rest assured that any further incidents will be dealt with robustly and positive action will be taken.
"I won’t divulge our tactics but if anyone is considering throwing bricks at a taxi or any other car you need to ask yourself, who’s in that taxi or car? Cop or cabby?"