Whitley Bay lighthouse car parks 'hotspot' for anti-social behaviour

The car park at St Mary's lighthouse
The car parks for St Mary's lighthouse have become a 'hotspot' for anti-social behaviour Credit: Newcastle Chronicle/Simon Greener

Car parks for St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay have become a hotspot for sexual activity, drug taking, and illegal racing, it has been claimed.

Council bosses have been warned of a spate of "anti-social and illegal behaviour throughout the evening and night" at the St Mary's Island car parks.

The concerns were raised in a public question put to North Tyneside Council this week, alleging a raft of activities that also include "donutting" cars, urinating and defecating, blaring car horns, and "intimidating behaviour to visitors and volunteers".

A Whitley Bay resident, Ms S Bennett, told the authority it was "not uncommon to have all of these activities occurring in a single evening" and that the nature reserve should be somewhere for people to "enjoy the peace and quiet of the natural environment".

She asked: "As this behaviour has been going on for some time my question is: does North Tyneside Council intend to address the problem of night-time anti-social behaviour on the nature reserve and, if so, how and when?"

St Mary's Lighthouse is a popular tourist spot Credit: PA

The car parks are now being watched by Project Vita, a taskforce dedicated to tackling anti-social behaviour.

According to Northumbria Police figures, 10 incidents have been reported around the car parks since January this year.

In response to public worries, North Tyneside's deputy mayor Carl Johnson said: "Anti-social behaviour is a concern for our residents and every member of this council. The elected mayor established a multi-agency task force earlier this year that promotes a problem-solving approach to anti-social behaviour.

"This had cross-party support and has partners including Northumbria Police, Nexus, the business forum, and Newcastle United Foundation. The task force has been well supported by all.

"We are pleased that data, which we are reviewing, shows a significant downward trend but we will keep going in our efforts to solve anti-social behaviour. The council works with police colleagues to manage car parks and surrounding public places.

"There is an action plan across the nature reserve, which includes the Lighthouse car park. As part of this plan community inspection security team regularly monitor and patrols the area using CCTV vehicles.

"When we do see anti-social behaviour we ourselves will take enforcement action. The security team will report any illegal activity to the police to enable enforcement action.

"In addition, our security control room will report speeding vehicles directly to the police. The Project Vita team have also added the car parks to their list of hotspots."

The deputy mayor also said further "reasonable steps" will be examined by the council to reduce crime in the area.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...