Parents have been warned they could lose their homes as police launch a crackdown on a 20-strong bunch of teenage terrors who have brought misery to a Sunderland neighbourhood.
Since the start of the month, police in Southwick have handled 21 reports of bad behaviour, with a group of 14 to 18-year-olds, both boys and girls, at the centre of the disorder.
Their actions have centred around Ridley Street, Beaumont Street, Goschen Street, Cato Street and the back lanes towards Thompson Road, with fires also started near the Halfway House pub.
Problems have included:
l Fireworks being aimed at family homes and rockets fired at police and fire officers, as well as emergency service vehicles.
l Homophobic abuse hurled at a woman in public, with police treating this as a hate crime.
We have already made a number of arrests, there will be more.Inspector Don Wade
l A fight in Ridley Street, which led to a young man suffering a broken arm and a 14-year-old being charged with threatening behaviour.
l Bonfires being built and set alight in lanes.
Northumbria Police said it has made a number of arrests, with more to follow as their inquiries continue.
Officers are working alongside schools, the council and councillors, youth development workers and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service on an action plan to get to the root of the issues, with a walkabout held on the streets last night as discussions continue into tackling the issue, It is also in discussions with housing provider Gentoo as it warns the parents of those found to be causing trouble that they could lose their homes, with warnings that tenancy enforcement action could be taken.
Efforts are ongoing to find the addresses of those behind the attacks and use this measure.
A “hard core” of eight to 10 boys at are at the centre of the group, with several siblings involved in the group, with the busiest and most challenging shift so far proving to be Bonfire Night.
Neighbourhood Inspector Don Wade said: “We are looking at tenancy enforcement action. It’s a tactic we have employed in other areas of Sunderland quite effectively, in Witherwack and other areas, and people should get the message that if you’re involved in this behaviour, you will be arrested and you run the risk of losing your home.
“We have already made a number of arrests, there will be more, and we do have people supporting our investigations, but I would ask people to get in touch with more information, because the more we get, the more activity we can carry out.
“I very much believe in criminal and civil legislation being used, and we will be using what is available to us.
“This is very much the start, so in the short term there will be arrests, but in the long term there is going to be a lot of work around antisocial behaviour legislation and identification of those involved and their families.”
A letter drop is being carried out in Southwick as police urge people to pass on information.
Officers were joined on their walkabout by ward Councillor Norma Wright and the council’s lead policy officer for community safety Stuart Douglas.
Coun Wright said: “We know they are doing a lot of work to deal with these issues and as far as I’m concerned, they are doing a really splendid job in trying to help the community and to improve the quality of life. “I’m very grateful to the police for their massive efforts and the fact they have done this walkabout so we can identify issues and we can work together to turn this round.”
Police are continuing to appeal for help to track down those responsible for an attack at 8.20pm on Sunday, November 5, when a brick was thrown through a living room window before a firework was then fired into the room, causing smoke damage to the house.
Officers want to hear from anyone who was in the area of Ridley Street and Thompson Road at between 8.20pm and 8.45pm. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1273 of 05/11/17.