Extra security measures in place for children's Halloween spook trail through Backhouse and Barley Mow park

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Sunderland police are looking to protect children during the Halloween spook trail through Backhouse and Barley Mow park this Friday.

As well as police assistance, extra safety measures have been put in place for the parents and children attending the free event.

Mary Todner, 62, secretary for the Friends of Backhouse and Barley Mow parks, said: “All children must be accompanied by an adult. They will also be carrying lanterns that they’re going to make themselves and should all be wearing glow stick wristbands so we can see them because there aren’t any lights in the park.”

As well as the lantern-making and face-painting starting the night off at 5.30pm in Barley Mow park, the mile long spook trail around Backhouse park will include performances from a local drama company Theatre Space North East. Ms Todner said: “The children are going to be led by a tour guide and every hundred yards round the park they will be stopped and the actors will be acting out spooky plays. It’s all about pirates this year.

“The theatre group are also going to outline the path with white flour so they can see the edging of the path.”

However, in addition to the safety measures that will be carried out by the drama company and Backhouse and Barley Mow Parks Group, community police assistance is also to be provided.

Corrine Kilvington, 32, Artistic Director for Theatre Space North East, said: “It is good practice when you’re walking round with a group of people in the dark doing a performance to have some community police attend the event to make people feel safer.

“There was an incident during one of our summer performances in Barnes park which the police didn’t attend and one of our actors was punched by a member of the public. We called the police and dealt with it but they never caught the guy responsible.”

As well as helping the children cross the dual carriage way between the two parks, they police will also be doing a sweep of Backhouse park before the children arrive to make sure everything is safe.

Ms Todner added: “At the end of the walk and the performances, the children are going to be walked to Hendon library where they’ll get some hot chocolate and toffee apples.”#####

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