The mean streets of Cheltenham went off with a bang last night, with hundreds of teenagers inappropriately dressed for the chilly spring conditions gathered on Cheltenham beach for their annual Guy Fawkes revelry.
At around 11.30pm, fearing the risk of the scantily glad youths catching pneumonia, the police began to encourage them to jog along the beach. Laziness was not tolerated and police in riot gear brought up the rear to ensure the pace was sufficient. Anyone overheating was cooled by the police helicopter, which provided a convenient down draft from above.
Some cunning young folk evaded this enforced exercise and some small groups were still seen goading each other until the wee hours, although the natural cowardice prevalent among these individuals ensured no actual physical contact ensued. Many of the individuals appeared to be outsiders.
Background noise to the festivities was provided by the sound of sky rockets being let go up the street and the breaking of glass bottles.
While the incident could not be defined as a riot, as most of the teens involved appeared boisterous but reasonably compliant, some anti-social behaviour was observed. This primarily took the form of sky rockets being fired horizontally up the road into police lines, and some louths* were seen running over car roofs as they bravely fled up Vauxhall Rd. No serious damage was inflicted upon private property that The Speculator could observe the following morning.
The police strategy appeared to be the same as last year; block off all the exits except for Vauxhall Rd, and funnel the youthful flotsam up to Lake Rd and beyond. This involved – as the photos show – a considerable police presence, including paddy wagons and a helicopter.
The Speculator adds:
The Speculator was in contact with police on Friday night, requesting any information that the community should know prior to the potential trouble. None was forthcoming unfortunately, and this made The Speculator wonder about the role the community could play in such future events.
In discussing this conundrum with the Ears of the East, one possibility that emerged from our discussion was that the community should establish and run a family-focused event that would take place on Cheltenham Beach on the evening in question.
This event would involve as many activities repulsive to louth culture as possible. This might include a Nana Mouskouri Appreciation Society’s annual get together, an Abba singalong evening and perhaps even an update on recent findings in the field of gynecology.
The possibility of proximity to such events would be certain to send a shiver of consternation down the sensitive spines of youthful troublemakers and they might be forced to flee to alternative locations that offered less-reputation threatening entertainment. Their angst-ridden gibberings on Facebook and Twitter might even provide long-suffering rate-paying residents with a laugh.
The point is; rather than us all cowering in our homes and leaving the dirty work to the police, we should get out there and claim that space that belongs to the community of Devonport – on Guy Fawkes night as much as any other night – as our own.
We have New Year’s Eve coming up in the next month, and all its associated, potential louth-related problems. We also have a phalanx of more than capable events organisers in our midst. The Speculator would be more than happy to front up with some cash to co-sponsor such an event.
Your thoughts, ideas and comments welcome.
* Louths; a word used to describe immature youths, in the absence of competent parenting, hovering on the threshold of developing semi-permanent to permanent loutish behaviour.
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