A spate of antisocial behaviour in Armley - including drug dealing, violent behaviour and incidents of intoxication involving urine - has forced The Real Junk Food Project’s flagship cafe, Armley Junk-tion, to close at weekends.
The serious lack of support from the police, third sector organisations & council have lead to us making such drastic changes as we are verging on a serious incident occurring
In a statement issued on the organisation’s Facebook page, TRJFP said:
'Due to increased anti-social behaviour, criminal activity and intimidation towards staff and volunteers, we have been forced to close Armley Junk-tion at weekends.
'On Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th several members of the community were involved in the following:
'Dealing of drugs
'Incidents including an attack which lead to a member of staff having to bandage a male whom had been attached with a brick, whom was topless and covered in blood.
'Intimidating, threatening and inappropriate behaviour towards female staff and volunteers.
'Intoxicated incidents involving urinating and fighting.'
Noting that members of community, rather than the users of the pay-as-you-feel cafe, were the ones responsible for the behaviour, TRJFP also stated that the staff and volunteers received little external support from official bodies, and have been forced to make a drastic withdrawal of their services as they felt a more serious incident was imminent.
'The serious lack of support from the police, third sector organisations & council have lead to us making such drastic changes as we are verging on a serious incident occurring.
'We apologise to all that are affected by this change. We will continue to strive to make the cafe as positive and safe as possible for the entire community.'
Having opened in December 2013, Armley Junk-tion was the first TRJFP cafe, spawning an international network of pay as you feel cafes and a supermarket, stocked entirely with food that would otherwise be rotting in a landfill.
Armley Junk-tion alone feeds thousands of customers every month; many of whom have limited access to food. Until the police and council can deter antisocial behaviour or provide better support to those affected by it, countless Armley residents will be denied this vital and popular facility.
The Real Junk Food Project / Armley Junk-tion, 1 Chapel Lane, Armley, LS12 2DJ