Gangs fear: 'arson, knives and needles' are blighting our lives, say West Howe residents (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Gangs fear: 'arson, knives and needles' are blighting our lives, say West Howe residents
GANGS of youths are making life a misery for families on a Bournemouth estate, it has been claimed.
Residents in West Howe said arson, drug use and vandalism are blighting the lives of hundreds of people.
Now they have urged police to take action before someone is hurt.
On Wednesday night a car was burnt out in Cunningham Crescent and the blaze spread to nearby garages.
Residents in the area said there had been several other fires and that children playing in the area have found used needles and knives.
Carrie-Anne Daley has three children aged nine, six and two and hopes to move away from the area due to the problems her family have experienced.
She said: “The problems are caused by teenagers.
“They steal cars, dump them and burn them and they also set dustbins on fire.
“My six-year-old son walked into the house with a knife he had found in the bushes – it is dangerous for children to play around here.”
She said her nine-year-old daughter is afraid to play outside and added: “There are a lot of nice people around here but a fairly small element spoil it for everyone else.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “There are groups of kids causing trouble and some of them are only about 12.
“A lot of them appear to be drunk – I’ve no idea where they are getting alcohol from at that age.
“I think they are looking for trouble because they are bored.”
Kinson South Cllr Beryl Baxter, who represents West Howe, said she had not received any complaints about gangs of youths in the area.
She said: “I’ve just been there speaking to some residents and they are really pleased with the area and pleased with what the council are doing.
“Things are improving and we just hope that it stays that way. The regeneration is still happening.”
A Dorset Police spokesperson said they were investigating the burnt out car in Cunningham Crescent and another incident, in which a stolen car was found in Kingsbere Avenue.
Anyone with information should contact them on 101 quoting incident number 5:22.
But they said they were not aware of any needles or knives being found and said that a large amount of multi-agency work had taken place over the last year.
Dorset Police added there had been no increase in antisocial behaviour in West Howe so far this year and that in North Bournemouth antisocial behaviour had reduced by 2.6 per cent.
Martha Searle, a neighbourhood worker in West Howe, said: “I don’t recognise gangs of youths.
“If there are needles and knives being found they’re not being reported.
“I’m really shocked and I’m saddened that these are people’s experiences and I would absolutely encourage them to come and tell me or report it to the council.
“I’m really sad that this is what people are finding.
“My understanding is that the car fire was a stolen vehicle and we don’t yet know if it was set alight by young people.”
She urged people to report problems to her on 01202 451199 or to the police.
Martha is based at Henry Brown Youth Centre during the day Monday to Friday.
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