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Surgery forced to increase security due to youth anti-social behaviour

A surgery in Tameside has increased its building security after incidences of youth anti-social behaviour and four break-ins in the last two years.

Highlands Surgery in Ashton-under-Lyne – which serves over 8,000 patients – has put in a retrospective planning application to Tameside Council after installing barbed wire around its flat roof in August.

In the application, the surgery’s business support manager Alex Jones said the barbed wire had been put up because young people were ‘climbing onto the roof and playing football’. She said the location of the surgery, which is opposite a youth offenders home, means the problem is ‘ongoing’.

She added since fixing the wire on the roof, there have not been any ‘incidences’ with youths.

Ms Jones said: ‘We have had barbed wire installed around the flat roof. The purpose of the installation was to stop youths climbing onto the roof and playing football. This is obviously very dangerous and they do it on a regular basis. The youths have also tried to tamper with the air conditioning unit on more than one occasion.

‘The air conditioning unit is also an access point into the building. We have reported these incidents to the police on numerous occasions, but the surgery is located opposite a youth offenders home so this problem is ongoing.

She added: ‘Another factor to consider is that the surgery has been broken into four times in the last two years and the chemist located on the premises has been broken into twice.

‘As medication is stored on the premises, one enormous risk is that youths could access this medication and cause harm to themselves or others.’

Ms Jones said their only way to secure the building was to install barbed wire as a deterrent.

She said: ‘The only way to stop these incidents was to put security measures in place. After looking at a couple of alternatives; barbed wire around the perimeter was the best deterrent.

The consultation on the plans is expected to end on 16 October and a decision on the retrospective planning permission will be made by the council on 13 November.

If the application is refused, then the council will require the surgery to remove the barbed wire.

Last month, Luton’s biggest practice urged NHS Property Services to help with its building security after its fourth break-in in a year.