Residents have made claims of "horrendous" scenes on Aberavon Beach including youngsters defecating, taking drugs and verbally abusing passers-by.Midwife Liz McMurtry, said up to 500 teenagers have been gathering on the beach in Port Talbot each night until the early hours, playing loud music and leaving the sand strewn with litter such as nitrous oxide canisters and empty spirits bottles.
Liz, who works at Bridgend's Princess of Wales hospital, has accused police of failing to act despite her calling them almost every night.
South Wales Police say its officers are allocated to the beach throughout the summer holidays to reduce antisocial behaviour.The 64-year-old, who has lived in nearby Mariners Quay for 12 years, said young women and men urinate on the sand dunes "in full view" of the public. When she has confronted them she has received "vile" abuse."They just drop their trousers and go to the toilet on the dunes," said Liz.
"On one occasion there were three kids — I'm not talking children, they were 18 or 19 years old — going on the dunes. I don't want to see three bums when I'm walking. I said to them I'd take photographs and report it to police. They said, 'You can't do that, we'll report you to the police.'"Liz added that the "horrendous" and "disgusting" scenes have also included some teenagers leaving faeces on the beach.
The problems started shortly after the Covid lockdown hit in early 2020 and have since escalated during spring, summer and early autumn, said Liz. She feels the issues have been at their worst in the last few months.She said: "Last year they were digging holes in the sand and covering them up, which could cause an injury to people walking along. My leg went through one of the holes. They thought it was hysterical."It's up to 500 kids when the weather is fine, but I'd say it's 200 to 300 on average. They come down any time after 6pm until 1am or 2am. They light wood fires all along the beach. I am not a killjoy but this is a residential area."It's lovely here, my neighbours are absolutely fab, but honestly [the antisocial behaviour] is terrible. Sometimes we pray for rain just to stop them coming. We don't want to stop anyone having a good time but there are limits."
Lianne Jones has lived on the seafront for 16 years. The 41-year-old mum-of-two said: "I'm a single parent and it's frightening. I love living by the beach but I can't enjoy it when it's sunny. Because my house is right on the end I get all the abuse when I ask the teenagers to stop peeing against my wall."She recently saw a group of boys urinating near her home and she squirted them with a hose, which she said resulted in them shouting abuse at her.
On another occasion she saw a group of girls emptying their bladders on the beach.
"I asked, 'Do you want some toilet roll?' They said, 'Yes please.' I'd been taking the mick but they just didn't care. Another girl was right outside my neighbour's house when she pulled up her skirt and peed on top of a sand dune."Lianne struggles to sleep due to music "blasting" until 2am. She said she had to "chase away" one group of boys who picked up a neighbour's solar light and threw it at her window without causing damage. The mum added she rarely sees police attend the beach.Liz complained to Neath Port Talbot Council last year about allegations of the youngsters parking dangerously on narrow residential streets near the beach.
"They park on junctions and right up on the pavements so wheelchair users have to go into the road," she said.
"They park on both sides the road which means ambulances struggle to get through. We have put cones up to stop it but then the kids get aggressive. All the neighbours are really fed up."The midwife believes the parking problems have worsened following the council's introduction of parking charges along the seafront. She claims the then-council leader Edward Latham visited her last July and vowed to implement parking permits on the residential streets, but she said this is yet to happen.
Mr Latham said: "The request for parking restrictions in the area affected by ASB (antisocial behaviour) has been approved and is part of the council’s work programme for this financial year."Local Police Inspector Andy Matthews said: "A specific policing operation is in place until September 4 to reduce ASB along Aberavon beach front and surrounding areas. The beach attracts lots of visitors throughout the summer and Aberavon Beach is also a popular surf spot attracting many visitors which in turn leads to high levels of demand on police services including both crime and non-crime related issues.“Historically, over the months from May to September there has been a small increase in ASB-related incidents which coincide with the lighter nights and improved weather. Aberavon Beach is a popular location which draws thousands of people including families and tourists who enjoy the fine attractions the area has to offer.
"Unfortunately, the area also attracts a minority of youths who congregate along the beach and dune areas and play loud music, light camp-fires and behave in an anti- social manner with evidence of alcohol and drug misuse left behind.“The overwhelming majority of young people at the beach fully engage with us when spoken to and are neither acting in an anti-social manner nor committing any criminal acts. In fact, we have received very few calls in relation to anti-social behaviour at this time and we have a permanent presence at the beach throughout the summer."Officers are engaging with school/youth club summer clubs around the Port Talbot area to increase awareness of the impact of ASB on quality of life. They attend the concerned locations and speaking to people in the area advising of the ongoing ASB operation."A Neath Port Talbot Council spokesperson said: “We are fully supportive of South Wales Police’s continuing efforts to combat anti-social behaviour on the beach area by a minority.
"We would encourage anyone who sees any anti-social behaviour to report it to South Wales Police which currently has an Operation running to deal with any issues on the beach front.
"Anyone who experiences an issue with parking at the beach front should report the matter to the council’s parking services or road safety departments."