Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Wisbech market traders call for action over town centre anti-social behaviour

More news, no ads


Bring back Roger – that’s the plea of traders across Wisbech town centre concerned at the rising levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

There are calls for Roger Vanhinsberg to be employed as the town's security guard. He is pictured with market trader Jo Davis and town resident Norman Melton, who agrees there are issues in the Market Place. (5086365)
There are calls for Roger Vanhinsberg to be employed as the town's security guard. He is pictured with market trader Jo Davis and town resident Norman Melton, who agrees there are issues in the Market Place. (5086365)

Leading the campaign are husband and wife team Jo and Peter Davis, who claim that since the Horsefair made its security guard Roger Vanhinsberg redundant less than two months ago the town centre has become a no-go zone for some shoppers.

The couple run a regular plant and bric-a-brac stall on the Market Place and claim over the past few weeks they have seen a rise in anti-social behaviour, an increase in the number of homeless sleeping rough in shop doorways, a rise in street drinking problems and an influx of youngsters who are terrorising shoppers.

Jo said: “We are unsure who to contact with our concerns as, because of cutbacks, no one has time to listen or act.

“We have lived in Wisbech for over 30 years and seen lots of changes – some good, some questionable – but the latest are very frightening, As far as we can see, and we are in town most days, since the loss of Roger Vanhinsbergh, the Hosefair security guard, the town has been swamped with alcoholics, homeless vagrants and gangs.

“Not only was he a deterrent he retained knowledge of all those people who committed petty crimes which in itself meant the undesirable element of Wisbech were less likely to venture into town.

“Now it’s open season, they are having a field day with no-one to move them on. Just a few weeks since he was made redundant and there are vagrants sleeping on the steps of QD. There’s a hardcore of six or seven. The moment we arrive to set up our stalls they are there pestering us for money.”

Ian Ansell, who runs the weekly tool stall, agrees there’s a problem.

He said: “It is getting so bad, it is putting people off coming into town and I have definitely noticed a drop in takings in the past few weeks.

“Who wants to come into town and be faced with this? There are people drinking and then getting into arguments. The language they use is disgusting, who wants to see and hear that? It is definitely putting people off, I have them coming over begging and trying to steal from me.

“I’m beginning to question whether it is worth carrying on. You complain to the town council and they say it’s the same everywhere else.

have stalls in other places like Dereham and we don’t have these problems.

“No one seems to be bothered. When Roger was working he kept things calm. He knew those who were excluded from the town centre for shoplifting and he would speak to kids if they were misbehaving.

“Everyone respected him and he was certainly a deterrent, I have certainly seen a difference since he has gone. I would support bringing him back.”

Jo added: “There has been talk of the town council employing a PCSO , but why don’t they employ Roger, he knows the town, he knows the trouble makers and he is respected, and he would be probably cost less too.”

It is not just market traders that have had issues with rising anti-social behaviour several shop keepers around the Market Place are also concerned.

Avsalan Anjun has recently opened his mobile phone shop having relocated from the other side of the Market Place to the corner of Market Street. Less than a month after opening he has had a window smashed.

He said: “The window was smashed but so were all the glass shelves behind it. They stole about £100 worth of stuff but caused over £3,000 worth of damage. I was in the previous shop for six years and never had anything like this.”

Another shop keeper, who didn’t want to be named, described how shoplifting has become a real problem in recent weeks.

She has only lived in the town a year and says she is regretting the move after seeing the increase in anti-social behaviour.

“You try confronting these people and they come out with a load of verbal abuse, it is very intimidating. I know of another shop where they confronted someone trying to shop lift and when they told the person to leave they just urinated all over the floor.

“We really do need to see Roger back where he belongs, looking after our town centre. He would clamp down on trouble makers before they had a chance to cause mischief,” she said.

Jo said the contract cleaners employed to keep the Market Place clean have reported a rise in problems such as human excrement left under and even on top of the benches.

“It is disgusting they have shown me pictures of the messes they have had to clean up. You can’t believe people would behave like that, but it has got worse in recent weeks.

“The town council is talking about spending money improving the Market Place, but putting a cover over it is only going to provide shelter for the vagrants. If it carries on like this there will be no stalls and it will be a waste of money.”

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More