Police vow to 'take back the streets' of Houghton and tackle feuding families

Police have promised to ‘take back the streets’ in response to feuding families in an area of Sunderland.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 6:45 pm

The Coalfield area of Wearside has been hit by a spate of incidents in recent months, which is believed to be linked to disputes between different groups.

And while officers conceded the situation had not yet directly affected the wider public, they insisted they planned to get on top of the problem before it had a chance to spiral.

“Our priority, certainly in the last week and maybe a bit longer, has been an ongoing feud that’s continued in Houghton,” said Inspector Nick Gjorven.

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Police vow to 'take back the streets' and tackle feuding families

“It started off as a family feud, although I’m not altogether convinced that’s the case at the moment, vehicles have been damaged and been crashed into, we’ve made arrests and executed three warrants last week.

“It may not affect the general populace, other than the fact that you hear of certain reports, but it is something I hope to nip in the bud and take back the streets.

“People have been throwing their weight around – we want to remind them that we’re in control and they’re not.”

Insp Gjorven, of Northumbria Police, was speaking at a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Coalfield Area Committee on Wednesday, March 17, which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.

Inter-family violence in the Coalfield has previously been highlighted as a concern by the force.

In September (2020) police claimed a ‘lengthy dispute’ between groups had prompted a spike in offences which saw firearms units, dogs and even mounted officers deployed as part of efforts to calm the situation.

Following the meeting, a Northumbria Police spokesperson said they attended and incident earlier this month after being alerted by Tyne and wear Fire and Rescue service.

The spokesman to the Echo: “Shortly after midnight on March 10, we were alerted by the fire service to a car that was on fire on Chester Road, Penshaw.

“Emergency services attended and the fire was extinguished.

“An investigation was subsequently launched into the cause of the fire, which police are currently treating as suspected arson.

“A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson but has since been released with no further action to be taken.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”