Thornton Heath’s collective of street drinkers are ignoring the lockdown and social distancing and have returned to the Clocktower where they are regularly congregating to booze.
On the day PM Boris Johnson announced the lockdown, a persistent female street drinker who had previously been fined for ASB, was observed squatting and urinating on the roadside in front of the clocktower as motorists drove passed. The police have tried previously to get a Criminal Behaviour Order to ban her from Thornton Heath but magistrates refused to issue it because it unfairly restricted her movement.
The street drinkers began gathering again at the Clocktower just as the virus crisis broke coinciding with the clocks going back and the weather improving.
As these pictures show are not observing social distancing or the lockdown imposed on the rest of us.
The Safer Neighbourhood Team have regularly been seen moving them on over the last week. Crime has significantly decreased since the lockdown but there have been instances of moped theft and car crime with disabled badges stolen from windscreens in West Thornton.
Deputy council leader Cllr Alison Butler said: “In relation to our street drinkers this is a task that is easier said than done. We are trying to ensure that they are engaging with the correct services and do have somewhere to stay but everyone is aware that this is a cohort that will present challenges. However, everything will be done to protect not only their own safety but also the publics.”
In a video message delivered by the borough commander Dave Stringer, he said officers continued to do everything to make the area as safe as possible and that the focus remained on violence. He reassured residents that police were still responding to non emergency calls such as anti social and he thanked people for complying with the government guidelines and not leaving homes accept for essentials and not opening shops.He said this had allowed officers to focus on ‘communities safe’.