Police in Stephenville have charged a 17-year-old with loitering at the local Tim Hortons, in an effort to curtail the growing problem.

RCMP said while the coffee shop is a popular place, more and more people have started hanging around in the parking lot over the past few months, in groups of 20 or more.

Police charged the young man last Friday.

"Everybody else can stand in front of Tim's, and just stand there, but I got a broken foot, and I can't wait for a ride? That's kind of messed up," said the teen, who can't be named under the Young Offenders' Act, now that he's been charged.

RCMP Cpl. Judy Morgan said it was a necessary move.

"He refused to leave, so (a) person reported it to the police," she said. 

"We had to go and take him from there. He's been charged under the Petty Trespass Act."

The teenager said he thinks he's being singled out.

"At least give a warning, and then the second time, be charged," he said.

"But they don't give you a warning. They just charge you on the spot. So, like, if people don't know, why should they be charged for something they don't know about?"

The teen said he was warned once before not to sit on a garbage can in the area, but he said he was never told to leave.

Growing issue

Many local residents agree that loitering is getting worse in the area.

"If I go to get a coffee, it's a real hassle when I [have] to fight through people to get into where I want to get a coffee," said Bill Hynes.

Mike Russell said he often sees people hanging around the parking lot.

"Every day, seven days a week," he said. "It's getting pretty rough, because the teenagers [have] nowhere else to go."

One nearby business owner, who didn't want to be identified, said the problem is driving away his customers. He's installed security cameras to help deal with the issue.

The manager of the Tim Hortons declined comment.

The teenager is due in court in November.