Moves to stop River Witham troublemakers

A new initiative is tackling anti-social behaviour in and around a Lincolnshire waterway.

Agencies have met to discuss problems on the River Witham which include jumping from a railway bridge, trespassing and interfering with boats.

Lincolnshire Police said the problem had become so bad that some boat owners were avoiding the area.

Police and Boston Borough Council said they would catch the culprits and warn others of the risks involved.

Problems have been concentrated on the area near the Sluice Bridge and at the village of Anton's Gowt.

'Thoughtless actions'

Various agencies have different areas of jurisdiction and by coming together, effective action can be taken, officials said.

British Transport Police has started proceedings against a number of local youths for trespassing on the rail line and is working with Network Rail to make the bridge less accessible.

British Waterways will be working in partnership with Boston Borough Council's Community Safety Team to target those entering the water or trespassing onto their moorings at Witham Bank East and Anton's Gowt.

The council's CCTV systems are also being used to identify offenders and provide evidence in court.

Pc Fran Harrod, from Lincolnshire police, said: "The thoughtless actions of a few have had a major impact on tourism in Boston

"Boat owners are choosing not to visit and moor here amid fears of vandalism and this massive loss in revenue for British Waterways impacts on the whole economy of Boston. Likewise, when a train is held up due to people climbing on the bridge, the entire East Midlands network is affected".

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