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Police target 'trick or treat' pranks

Police have set up special patrols to deal with nuisance behaviour on Hallowe’en and bonfire night. They say ‘trick or treat’ pranks can cause misery for many, particularly the elders.

The most recent Brookmans Park Neighbourhood Watch newsletter, sent out by community police officer Vojislav Mihailovic, also urged children and parents to reduce the number of pranks carried out at this time.

He said that if parents did allow children to ‘trick or treat’ they should encourage their children to only call on neighbours who expected them to visit.

And he warned that many elderly people are intimidated and afraid of strangers calling at their doors throughout the night of October 31. Residents can be faced with as many as a dozen calls a night from children demanding sweets or threatening to carry out a trick.

Apart from the difficulty of getting to the door so often during the evening, some older people do not have the resources to stock up on ‘treats’ and end up afraid of being victims of ‘tricks’.

The special patrols, set up by the Hertfordshire force, are designed to clamp down on the nuisance element on both Hallowe’en and bonfire night. Police say that in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of reported incidents of nuisance behaviour and petty criminal damage.

Police have been distributing posters to businesses that sell eggs and flour warning shoppers that they will only sell such products during this time if the shoppers are buying the items as part of a larger grocery order.

They say that many incidents that are reported involve damage caused by eggs and flour and say such items can cause permanent damage to property. According to the police such incidents need to be investigated as a crime, draining police resources.

They are taking similar action to clampdown on the illegal sale and use of fireworks.

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October 29, 2002

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