Traders and shoppers have welcomed new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour and street-drinking in Longton town centre.
A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) came into effect earlier this week, following a surge in complaints about people drinking, swearing, and fighting in the town.
The order means alcohol can be seized from anyone caught drinking in the town and those who refuse to give up their booze, are anti-social through swearing and threatening behaviour can be fined £100 or taken to court.
Concerns had been raised that yobs were affecting trade in the town, with elderly shoppers being afraid to come to Longton.
Pensioner Janet Bradbury, aged 73, from Blurton said: “It’s a good thing – I shop here three days a week.
“There are always people drinking up here.
“They walk around holding cans, and sit on the steps in gangs.”
Café Continental owner, Dave Bate, aged 60 said: “A customer came in and said had had their drink taken off them, and poured down the gutter, then people cheered.
“So people in the town do really want it.
“There have been a lot of problems, and there’s been stealing from shops.
“It has affected trade in the town, with people hanging around the shops, it means shoppers don’t want to go there.”
Carol Jackson, aged 65, from Trentham said: “I think it’s a good thing if it stops them.
“I shop here often, and it’s not nice to see.”
Chris Jackon, aged 70, from Stoke said: “I shop in Longton about once a fortnight, and I think it’s a good thing for people.”
Longton West ward councillor Kath Banks said: “Local people said they wanted something done about street drinking and anti-social behaviour in the town centre and the council, police and business people have worked together to put the order in place to emphasise its community feel.”
Staffordshire Police Chief Inspector Rob Taylor, commander of Stoke South Local Policing Team said: “We are committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in all its forms and the introduction of this order will reinforce that.
“We work in unison with our colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council to address anti-social behaviour issues in and around Longton, and this order is a culmination of our partnership work.
“In May we invited the community to share their views on the proposed order and I’m confident it will give us the right powers to act on their concerns.
“We accept a number of street drinkers have vulnerabilities which need to be addressed, and the city council and charity organisation Lifeline are already working with them to tackle these issues.
“But people who live and work in, and visit, Longton, should not have to put up with unacceptable behaviour, which is carried out by a minority.”
The PSPO order lasts for three years.