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Meeting to stop terror gang

PUBLISHED: 08:48 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 July 2010

A meeting is being held in Dereham tonight to try to help people in part of the town who are being terrorised by a gang of youths.

According to police data, recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in Toftwood have increased 175.

A meeting is being held in Dereham tonight to try to help people in part of the town who are being terrorised by a gang of youths.

According to police data, recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in Toftwood have increased 175.5pc in the past 12 months.

In the eight months up to January this year there were an average of nearly 40 recorded incidents per month.

In January alone there were 63 and the problem has got worse and residents have complained a group has been running amok, scaring people and damaging property on a daily basis for months.

Complaints include windows being broken, youths knocking on windows in the early hours of the morning, the shouting of general obscenities, cars being damaged, back gardens set on fire and ice thrown at doors and windows.

Now a meeting has been organised with residents of the European Cities area, so-called because of its street names, to see what can be done about the problem by residents, police and other agencies.

Insp Pete Walsh said: “Some of the behaviour that has been described to us is completely unacceptable and we are determined to work with local people to restore quality of life for Toftwood residents.”

He said the safer neighbourhood team was concerned with the problem and were working with local people to get evidence of the offences.

One woman, who did not want to be named, described what the youths were doing as “terrorising” the neighbourhood. She said the gang were “running amok, scaring people and damaging property”.

On one night last week police were called out at least three times within a few hours and at one point there were three police cars and police dogs brought it, she said.

She believes people are not reporting incidents because of fear of reprisals.

Tracey Baxter, anti-social behaviour officer at Breckland Council, said: “We need to put our heads together and think how to address this.”

Possibilities including launching neighbourhood watch schemes, helping people record the incidents, letting people know who to call about problems and finding ways to engage with youth in the area, like bringing in youth workers, she said.

“They are not all bad, it is looking at it from both perspectives,” she added.

She also said they wanted to find ways of working better with the public.

A leaflet drop has been carried out in target areas about the meeting, due to be held at 7pm in the Anglia Room at Breckland Council's offices in Walpole Loke.

One youth has been arrested and bailed in connection with anti-social behaviour.

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