‘Hippy crack’ banned in Burnley town centre as council extends powers to crack down on begging, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse and bogus charity collectors

A ban on the use of 'hippy crack' has been added to prohibitions on begging, urinating or defecating in public, and reckless cycling and skateboarding in Burnley town centre.

The specific inclusion of the misuse of nitrous oxide canisters follows NHS professional Fiona Wild addressing a full meeting of Burnley Council in March on the issue.

On Thursday night the borough’s ruling executive renewed and extended the existing Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which covers the borough’s main town centre.

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The new order gives extra powers to tackle the consumption of alcohol on the street and the misuse of other intoxicating substances including nitrous oxide as well as excessive noise from the use of outside amplifiers.

The specific inclusion of the misuse of 'hippy crack' follows NHS professional Fiona Wild addressing a full meeting of Burnley Council earlier this year

The existing PSPO allows the council and police to use its powers to stamp out anti-social behaviour including begging, unsolicited charity collection, youths hanging around after 11pm and people urinating or defecating in the street.

Borough finance boss Coun Sue Graham paid tribute to Mrs Wild for bringing the issue of nitrous oxide abuse and its damaging consequence to the notice of the council and welcomed its new ban in the town centre.

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A report by Coun. Shah Hussain, Burnley Council’s community services boss, said: “In 2020 the borough-wide Designated Public Place Order, which provided designated officers the powers to deal with alcohol, expired.

“By including the prohibition managing the consumption of alcohol on the street these powers will be reintroduced within the confines of the town centre where the vast majority of alcohol related disorder occurs.

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“As with alcohol, a feature of anti-social behaviour related to the town centre’s night-time economy is often its connection to the misuse of other intoxicating substances. The use of nitrous oxide has been identified as of particular concern.

“The council receives complaints, both as part of the daytime and night-time economies, about the use of amplifiers in the town centre.

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“There has been a small increase to the area covered by the prohibition, to include areas on Trafalgar Street, Manchester Road Train Station, and the current cinema site.

“People defecating or urinating in public is an issue that affects both the night-time economy and areas associated with rough sleeping.”

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