EAST Oswestry residents had the chance to ask questions and raise concerns with police about crime.

Residents from across the area packed out the East Oswestry Community Centre for a Neighbourhood Watch meeting and raised their concerns with two West Mercia Police representatives and several Oswestry councillors.

Those in attendance were urged to suggest ideas about how they can combat the issue of anti-social behaviour (ASB) better as a community alongside the police.

Organisers and the police representatives praised the high turnout for the meeting.

Kerry Davies, one of the organisers of the meeting, said: “It was really pleasing to see the centre so busy for this meeting.

“The idea is to make our area safer for not just older people, but younger residents who are growing up here too.

“It’s at a point now where my mum is too scared to leave the house to pop to the shop for milk when it’s dark. That’s not acceptable.

“Similarly, adults won’t send their children out to the shop across the road for fear of something happening.”

Residents raised the main issues they feel are blighting their area at the moment, which included vandalism, drug dealing and other incidents of ASB.

Other issues raised included fears regarding lack of police presence on the streets in the area and concerns there is not always an officer to speak to at the police station.

Police representatives had their opportunity to liaise with the community and offered advice to them about how they can help with finding those responsible for committing crimes in the area.

Sergeant Claire Greenway said: “I really hope someone here tonight takes on the role of a co-ordinator for the community’s neighbourhood watch group.

“It’s a very important role and it’s not too taxing – it helps us out a huge amount.

“In terms of reporting crimes, I understand social media is a good way to let the community know about things happening in the area, however it helps us out much more if you come directly to us.

“If people are putting out information about an ongoing case online, it could damage the proceedings and also land yourself in trouble.

“It’s much better if you come directly to us.

“This is the same with video footage and CCTV – rather than posting it online, bring it to us. It can prejudice our investigations and that can mean we don’t end up holding the people to account.”

Councillors Rosie Radford and Clare Aspinall were at the meeting.

People at the meeting were urged to attend a meeting later this month with Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion at the Wynnstay Hotel on Monday, February 18.

Police at the meeting also gave advice about reporting crimes using other methods, including through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.