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Monday, 20 September 2010

Yobs plaguing alleyway with noise and racist abuse (UK)

Racist yobs who have terrorised a neighbourhood for two years may be shut out of a Shipley alleyway under a £5,000 Council scheme.

Fed-up residents of Livingstone Close, Wrose, have had to endure abuse from gangs of up to 40 youths roaming the streets every night.

The residents have reported the thugs, who they say are mainly from the Swain House area of Bradford, carrying metal bars, baseball bats, sticks and even an air rifle.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, told the Telegraph & Argus he had been racially abused and another has been assaulted by the gang ‘ringleader’.

The youths have been drinking under age, urinating in gardens and throwing litter, stones and, during the winter, snowballs at homes.

Now Bradford Council is set to close the alleyway by putting up locked gates between Kings Road and Livingstone Close, in a bid to drive away the young trouble-makers.

The scheme will cost £5,000 in total, a meeting of the Shipley Area Committee heard.

Sergeant Khalid Khan, of Shipley Neighbourhood Police, told members the yobs used the ginnel to reach Claremont Fields, off Kings Drive.

He said: “We have had reports of 30 to 40 of them coming down and causing problems, not just for the residents of Livingstone Close but in Kings Drive, which is predominantly elderly residents.

“We have spoken to them but they have been absolutely petrified to even report incidents.”

Sgt Khan said police patrols were spending more than two thirds of each night guarding the area, which has seen “large-scale fights” during the past two years.

Increasing patrols has had a “profound impact” on anti-social behaviour elsewhere, said Sgt Khan. “It is having an impact not only on the residents but on our resources as well,” he said.

Danny Jackson, Bradford Council’s rights of way officer, said the Council could permanently close the alleyway but had decided against the move because it was also used legitimately as a right of way.

Security gates blocking off the alleyway could only be put in place if it could be shown that the path was a serious crime hot spot.

He told the meeting of the committee: “It does not seem to meet the criteria. We need to show high levels of serious crime are directly related to the path.”

Councillor Vanda Greenwood (Lab, Windhill and Wrose) said: “I beg to differ. There are some very, very serious issues, particularly racist problems.”

Members of the committee voted in favour of putting in lockable gates at each end of the alleyway subject to finding funding for the scheme.

Telegraph and Argus