Police officers have charged a man found in a Folkestone underpass with a number of offences while they were out on patrol in the town.

On Monday 19 February 2024, neighbourhood police were patrolling in Middelburg Square – an area highlighted by the local community as having incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) when they found a group of men acting suspiciously.

One man aged 53, and of no fixed address, was later charged with theft, obstructing a police officer and obstructing a police search. He was remanded in custody and is due to appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 27 February.

Further patrols over a number of days have resulted in the dispersal of groups suspected of nuisance behaviour and loitering in the area.

It comes as steps are being taken by Folkestone’s Community Safety Partnership (CSP) – whose members include Kent Police and Folkestone and Hythe District Council – to tackle issues surrounding an underpass in the square, where signs of previous drugs misuse have been reported.

Recently, the CSP donated money from the Safer Streets Project to the Folkestone Town Sprucers voluntary group, some of which has been allocated for cleaning up the underpass and removing debris.

Folkestone and Hythe was one of several Kent districts to bid successfully into the Safer Streets 5 fund with the support of the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner. The project has seen investment in crime prevention initiatives aimed at reducing levels of neighbourhood crime, ASB and violence against women and girls.

The funding boost will support new schemes while building on the existing work of the project – which includes, upgrading the CCTV network in the town; youth outreach to tackle ASB; training and education programmes for people who work in public places and the removal of graffiti and litter.

Detective Inspector James Wyles, from Folkestone’s Community Safety Unit, said:

‘We are aware of issues raised by the local community regarding Middelburg Square and I’d like to assure residents that my officers are always ready to respond to incidents of concern. I’m also pleased that, through the Safer Streets Project, we have been able to support the Folkestone Town Sprucers to make the area cleaner and safer, for the benefit of all.

‘Alongside our work with Community Safety Partnership members, I look forward to continuing to deliver under the Safer Streets Project and to seeing improved outcomes in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.’

By Ed

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