A teenager who admits he misbehaved as a youngster says he is trying to turn his life around – but feels his attempts are being hindered by police officers who refuse to believe he has gone good.
Ben Jonas is now 16, but only a few years ago he was a regular visitor to Grantham Police Station as a tearaway who indulged in anti-social behaviour on Grantham’s Earlesfield Estate.
Ben, who lives with his mum in Larch Close (both pictured), said: “I don’t hang around with the wrong people anymore. I used to get involved in a gang and didn’t know when to walk away. But I’m not scared of them anymore. It takes a bigger person to walk away, doesn’t it Mum?”
Ben directed the question at his mother Beverley Jones, who said: “When he was younger, he was too frightened to walk away. The other lads used to threaten him when he said he didn’t want to get involved.”
She says she is “sick and tired” with the constant badgering and accusations Ben receives from police patrolling the estate. She has even sought advice on several occasions from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
Ben feels he is constantly looking over his shoulder, expecting to see a police presence. He said: “It’s like they’re harassing me. I can’t go anywhere without being followed or police pulling me over.”
Anti-social behaviour, trespassing on railway lines and arson are all offences which Ben says he has either been questioned about or arrested for in recent months. He denies any involvement.
He attends Grantham College, where he hopes to gain GCSEs and go on to become a painter and decorator.
Ms Jones said: “The college has said they’ve noticed that since he stopped hanging around with the wrong people his behaviour has changed.”
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “Anyone who feels they have an issue with the way they are being treated by police should lodge a formal complaint.” Ms Jones said a complaint has been made.