Residents and shop owners have spoken out about antisocial behaviour at shopping parades around Crawley.
After receiving a report that groups of children were hanging around Gossops Green shopping parade, playing football, swearing and climbing on shop canopies, the Observer put a question on Facebook to find out if this was a wide-spread issue in the town.
Twenty-five comments were received in five hours as residents from all neighbourhoods said it was a regular occurrence.
They blamed lack of facilities for young people or simple lack of respect.
Sam Bouglas said: “Give the kids better places to play, not as the council are planning to remove loads of the play areas.”
Steve Flynn pointed out groups of adults caused trouble in Gossops Green as well.
He said: “It’s the gangs of adults that all meet outside drinking their beer.
“They are the ones I’m most concerned about when I go there.”
A shop owner in Gossops Green shopping parade, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was concerned she would soon have to foot the bill for the anti-social behaviour.
She said: “When I get a leak then I’ll know why. They run along the roof all day. When one comes tumbling through my roof, who will have to pay? Me.”
She said she often had to keep her shutters closed to protect her window from footballs.
She said: “It definitely affects trade. People think I’m closed.”
Sue Morley, 64, who lives near the parade, said she felt uncomfortable in her own home because it was close to a patch of grass that was used by children as a place to gather.
She said: “They think it’s all public property. They run around and use their scooters. The language you hear is awful. You’re sitting indoors and all of a sudden you’ve got kids looking at you.”
A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said: “This was reported to the council. An anti-social behaviour caseworker will visit the parade. Shop owners are asked to call the council’s Community Wardens if the issue returns.”
Sussex Police said there had been no recent reports of anti-social behaviour in shopping parades. A spokesperson said: “Local neighbourhood officers are paying attention to the area and will deal with any incidents robustly according to the individual circumstances.
“We encourage local people to report any such incidents to local officers or via 101.”