Alert as new type of ‘spice’ hits streets of Doncaster

Police fear a new strain of the drug ‘spice’ may have pushed up nuisance behaviour in the town centre.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 8:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 11:48 am

Businesses in the town have alerted police and council bosses about a rise in nuisance incidents they are seeing – although they admit the cases of antisocial behaviour are still a tiny fraction of what they were before police brought in a major crackdown on the problem last year.

It comes at a time when the public is being urged to take advantage of an ‘alternative giving' scheme set up to allow people to help the homeless in the borough, while avoiding giving to beggars in the street.

Business owners reported a rise in incidents over the last three or four weeks at the latest meeting of the Doncaster Town Centre Business Forum.

Police on patrol in Doncaster town centre

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One business owner described the last six months as ‘great’ since the place and council had taken action to increase the number of officers on patrol in the town centre and taken action on the use of the drug ‘spice’, but the last few weeks had seen a number of people who had appeared to be under the influence of the drug.

“It is nowhere near as bad as it was, but its crept up a bit,” he said.

Another described three or four people people being moved on, and later returning. I think its the warmer weather,” he said.

Insp Lynne Lancaster said: “We are aware that there is a new breed of spice, for want of a better phrase. That may be an issue.

“If you see any problems, ring us.”

Meanwhile officials are urging the public not to give money directly to beggars on the streets, but to use the alternative giving scheme that was set up last year to directly help people who are genuinely homeless.

The idea is to donate to the fund rather than giving cash in the street to beggars who may not be genuinely homeless, and to ensure money donated does not get spent on drink or drugs.

The scheme is administered by Changing Lives, a national, registered charity which provides specialist support for thousands of vulnerable people and their families. They are already working in Doncaster supporting people with complex needs to make meaningful and lasting improvements to their lives. The campaign is being advertised in the town centre.

Doncaster Council's head of service (communities), Pat Hagan, told businesses that the alternative giving scheme has raised more than £2,500 since it was launched in public donations through its website.

More than £700 of awards have been made to homeless people to provide items including beds, television, tenancy deposits other items of furniture.

Mr Hagan said there may occasionally be spikes in the number of incidents of antisocial behaviour in the town centre.

“We are dealing with a deep rooted problem,” he said.

To donate to the alternative giving scheme text REAL22 £2 to 70070 ( you can change the amount and may be charged for the text message) or visit www.realhelpdoncaster.org.

# Town centre businesses can attend the next forum at the Mercure Danum Hotel on Tuesday April 30 at 5.30pm. Email Adrian.Banks@doncaster.gov.uk to register.