Toftwood youngsters 'have nothing to do'
Emma KnightsYoungsters living in a troubled residential area have said improving facilities for young people could help stop anti-social behaviour.A gang of youths has been making the lives a misery for people living in the Hillcrest Avenue area of Toftwood, on the edge of Dereham, and nearly 200 people attended a meeting to discuss the problems.Emma Knights
Youngsters living in a troubled residential area have said improving facilities for young people could help stop anti-social behaviour.
A gang of youths has been making the lives a misery for people living in the Hillcrest Avenue area of Toftwood, on the edge of Dereham, and nearly 200 people attended a meeting to discuss the problems.
On Saturday the EDP joined PCSOs Peter Fuller and Claire Brightman on patrol to get an insight into life in the area.
Small groups of youngsters were wandering around, with many saying they were frustrated and bored. One 16-year-old girl said what they really wanted was a place to play football.
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A 16-year-old boy added: 'We have only got a youth club on Wednesday and we need it more days of the week. There is nothing else for us to do round here but hang around. People need to remember that they were kids once - some of what people say about what's happening here isn't even true.'
But many adults say living in the area is unbearable.
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One man said: 'Since the meeting, it has been better but it is still not right. I had problems on Friday with a youth swearing at me.
'We have all been kids and we all played silly games but this is more than the odd game. This is malicious because it is constant.
'Getting someone to talk to the kids is the main thing that needs to be done. None of us can talk to them - we just get screamed at.'
A woman said youths had been throwing balls of mud at her home and that she was no longer comfortable going out in the street because she was abuses.
She said: 'It is a bad thing what they are doing because before all of this it was a very nice neighbourhood. The kids think it is fun, but it is not for anybody else.'
Police have stepped up patrols in the area and PCSO Fuller said there had been a drop in problems.
He said: 'Some Saturdays we were getting about 20 calls a day from people but this Saturday we only had three calls. They were all about youngsters playing football in the road.
t A meeting tomorrow at Breckland Council's offices at Dereham will hear plans to tackle problems. The meeting starts at 7pm.