SECURITY in Middlewich is set to be ramped up as councillors continue to battle against drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.

Less than a month after a new CCTV camera was installed for Fountain Fields, Middlewich Town Council agreed on Monday to fund another camera which can be moved across town.

Plans for a trial run of closing the recently-renovated Fountain Fields at 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights are also in the pipeline, while councillors want to meet with police amid fears Middlewich is being plagued by ‘county lines’ drug dealing.

Cllr Mike Hunter, Labour, said: “We are safeguarding people, we are not just safeguarding our investment [Fountain Fields].

Winsford Guardian:

“I’m more interested in safeguarding the young, vulnerable adults and children and adults that are being taken advantage of in this town over and over again from people that come from outside our town.”

The measures were approved by Middlewich Town Council just three days after

an unresponsive 14-year-old girl was taken to hospital by police

following reports of underage drinking at Fountain Fields.

Cllr Carol Bulman, Labour, moved to reassure the public that the council is working to tackle the ‘bad stuff that is happening in other parts of town’ as well as the park, which benefitted from a £300,000 makeover last year.

It is hoped that the moveable camera could cover other anti-social behaviour hotspots such as Southway and Middlewich Cemetery, where thefts have been reported around Christmas time.

Cllr Bulman also told councillors that it should be possible to watch video captured by CCTV at Middlewich Leisure Centre, where ‘county lines’ drug dealing is believed to have taken place.

‘County lines’ is the practice of urban drug dealers using children and young adults to sell drugs in rural areas, villages and smaller towns.

Cllr Bulman said: “We know that people who are coming into town, bringing drugs in from Liverpool and Manchester, are parking at the leisure centre.

Winsford Guardian:

“Then our local, young adults who sell on come to meet them. That should be in vision of that camera, and there should be some interesting back footage there.”

Town councillors agreed to write to David Keane, Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner, and the force itself calling for a meeting to discuss drug dealing and anti-social behaviour in the town.

Meanwhile, the council is costing up plans for a security firm to close up Fountain Fields at 8pm on Friday and Saturday nights for a trial period.

Cllr Jonathan Parry, Labour, said: “The closure of the gates is a trial to see if it does work.

“I don’t know if it will work – I think if people really want to get in there they will do, it’s not going to stop them, it will just prove a challenge – but we’ve still got to try and stop them.

READ > Cheshire East towns hit by 'county lines'

“If there are crimes happening in that park then the police need to do something about it and we need to hold them to account.”

Cllr Russell Watkinson, Labour, added: “We’ve all got children and grandchildren in this town. Drugs are a scourge, they destroy people, families, they destroy communities, and we’ve just got to stop this.

“This is a nice town to live in, a nice town to raise your children, and you can’t have this destroying it.”