AN EMERGENCY meeting is being held today about a rise in anti-social behaviour in Stroud.

There has been a spate of illegal raves, fires and evidence of drug use by young people in the town.

People have been disturbed by late-night parties in children’s play areas, and evidence of drug and alcohol use is being discovered in parks and disused buildings.

Over the weekend the SNJ was told of three places where more than 100 teenagers had been gathering, including Dark Mills in Brimscombe, and Princess Elizabeth II and Victory parks in Cainscross.

Melanie Gray, who lives near the park in Cainscross, saw first-hand the aftermath of one such party on Saturday morning.

Stroud News and Journal:

Nitrous oxide canisters collected by Melanie Gray at the QEII park in Cainscross

“I was walking my dog through the park and you could see the litter left after a party all over the play area,” said Melanie.

“As I got closer I realised that there were drink bottles and nitrous oxide balloons littered throughout the play area.”

“I was so shocked but I set about cleaning up the mess as best as I could.”

“These kids are our future - it takes a whole town to raise a child, but we’re letting them down.”

Cainscross Parish Council said it had been frustrated by the increasing anti-social behaviour at council-owned spaces.

These include three fires, 'rave' style parties and general anti-social behaviour.

In response to the growing concerns, councils, the police, pharmacies and community organisations are meeting today to look at what action can be taken.

Gloucestershire police confirmed that they were working together with other organisations to address the issues.

A spokesperson said: “Officers are working with partner agencies to resolve the issue of large groups gathering and a number of options are being considered.”

Unfortunately, illicit activity has also taken place in a number of disused buildings in Dark Mills, Brimscombe.

Stroud News and Journal:

The Dark Mills buildings where illegal raves have taken place

Photographic evidence compiled by the SNJ shows how dangerous the buildings are, as the dilapidated structures have exposed wiring, burst water pipes, collapsed floors and are generally unstable.

More disturbingly pictures, and a video on the SNJ website, show hundreds of nitrous oxide bulbs, which are evidence of recreational use of the drug.

A Stroud District Council spokesperson confirmed that they were aware of the illegal gatherings, saying: “We responded to noise complaints about raves at Dark Mills in late 2017 and early 2018.”

Victoria Robson, director of service delivery at The Door Youth Project, said that: “Whatever the reaction we feel community groups should work together - we want to be role models for young people.”