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Signs of hope on Toftwood estate

PUBLISHED: 18:15 03 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:04 07 July 2010

Problems with youths in a troubled residential area seemed to have quietened down over the weekend, police have said.

As the Times reported last week a gang of youths has made the lives of people living in the Hillcrest Avenue area of Toftwood a misery through criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

Problems with youths in a troubled residential area seemed to have quietened down over the weekend, police have said.

As the Times reported last week a gang of youths has made the lives of people living in the Hillcrest Avenue area of Toftwood a misery through criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

At a meeting last Thursday residents told of how the youths had been doing everything from damaging cars, to throwing stones at windows, to shouting abuse and swearing.

However Sgt Terry Scott, from Dereham's Safer Neighbourhood Team, described the weekend as “relatively quiet” and said there had been a “distinct drop-off in calls” to the police from people in the area.

He said he hoped last Thursday's meeting had raised awareness of the situation and encouraged the youths' parents to work with their children to improve their behaviour.

Sgt Scott said it was not an issue that could be solved overnight but said the police and other organisations including Breckland Council were looking at different ways to tackle the problems. He said an officer was on duty in the area every evening and that police were speaking to victims and gathering evidence. But he said enforcement action alone was not enough and that work needed to be done to divert the youths from trouble rather than criminalise them.

Keith Webb, who lives in the area, said the weekend had been “reasonably quiet” although there were some youngsters out and about giving abuse and shouting names. He said many residents would attend a meeting involving Breckland, the police and other organisations on March 10 to find out what is being done to tackle the problem in the long term.

t The meeting of the Community Action Group on March 10 is at Breckland Council's offices in Dereham at 7pm.


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