Gangs of yobs ‘gatecrashed’ a city centre aqua park and pushed children into the water in front of their horrified parents.
Wild Shore on Dukes Dock, adjacent to the Albert Dock, is a family-friendly attraction made up of huge inflatable slides, trampolines, rafts and barriers.
It can only be used by pre-booking at a cost of £18 per person, but on two separate occasions, gangs of yobs ignored the rules and jumped into the water to gain access to the floating structure.
Confirming the details of the first incident, which took place on Sunday, July 18, a spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: “At around 5.15pm on Sunday, July 18, we received a report that a group of youths were jumping into the water in Dukes Dock, Liverpool.
“It was reported that the group of male and female youths were jumping on the inflatables at Wild Shore on Gower Street and were behaving aggressively towards security staff when challenged.
“Patrols attended but the youths had already left the water and dispersed.
“Enquiries into both incidents are ongoing.”
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Another incident occurred around the same time on Monday, July 19, when young children were shoved into the water.
Confirming the details of the second incident, the force spokeswoman said: “A male has been arrested and a dispersal zone has been put in place this evening (Monday, July 19) following anti-social behaviour at a water park in Liverpool city centre, which was opened for residents and visitors to enjoy this summer.
“The Wild Shore water park re-opened to the public in the spring this years and sadly what should be a fantastic facility for the public has been marred by others intent on causing trouble.
“To prevent further incidents a dispersal zone has been set up and patrols have been increased to ensure that law abiding members of the public can enjoy the waterpark and what the Liverpool waterfront has to offer.
“At about 5pm this evening (Monday, 19 July) officers were called to Dukes Dock, Gower Street, to reports of a large group of males and females (believed to be mainly teenagers) intimidating staff and parents at the Wild Shore water park and pushing young children in to the water.”
The spokeswoman details how the incident then escalated, adding: “Further reports were received that the group had moved towards the M&S Arena and a fight had broken out – some reports stated that some of those involved had knives.
“When patrols attended the group dispersed, but through CCTV and links with security in the city centre officers arrested a 16-year-old male from Walton on suspicion of a knife.
“Eagle-eyed members of the public also saw two males discard a knife as they ran away and they handed it into officers at Merseyside Police Headquarters.”
Acting Chief Inspector Geoff Stewart, said: “The waterfront should be a safe space for everyone to enjoy the lovely weather we’ve been having, not a place for the reckless anti-social behaviour that took place yesterday [Sunday] and today [Monday].
“Families were at the facility enjoying the sunshine and splashing about in the water and we won’t let the actions of a few spoil it for those who want to enjoy the activities and facilities the city has to offer.
“Merseyside Police will simply not tolerate antisocial behaviour and we will work with our partners and take all necessary action. We have implemented a dispersal zone on the waterfront and surrounding area to prevent further incidents and a 16-year-old male from Walton has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a knife following the incident tonight.
“We are viewing CCTV footage in a bid to identify others involved and I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone with information to contact us. We have also implemented a dispersal zone on the waterfront and surrounding area to prevent further incidents.”
Councillor Abdul Qadir, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “I’m appalled by the actions of this small minority, who through their selfish behaviour have spoiled a gorgeous evening for visitors and residents who were enjoying our beautiful waterfront.
“We fully support the measures Merseyside Police are taking to control the situation and to enable all those who want to enjoy this stunning weather peacefully.”
A Dispersal Zone that has been put in place and covers an area including The River Mersey, St Nicholas Place, George Dock Gates, The Strand, James Street, Lord Street, Paradise Street, Wapping, Queens Wharf, Keel Wharf, Monarch’s Quay and Halftide Wharf.
The order, which comes under Section 34 of the Anti-Social Behaviour & Policing Act 2014, gives police officers and police community support traffic officers powers to direct people they suspect are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to members of the public to leave a designated area and not return for up to 48 hours.
Under the legislation, officers have the power to seize any item used in the commission of anti-social behaviour.
Should a person who has previously been directed to leave the area return, an offence would be committed, which they may ultimately be arrested for.
Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to DM @MerPolCC, message ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Facebook’ or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 with reference 21000500893 (for the incident on Sunday evening) or 21000503508 (for the incident this evening).
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