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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Barrow centre ban for youth gang

A GANG of youths who forced a community centre to shut has been banned from going near the building for three months.

The Annex Hindpool Community Base in Barrow was forced to close in the evenings after a two-month campaign of intimidation and vandalism.

The Bath Street centre has now re-opened its doors after the local beat bobby warned the gang and their parents.

Annex boss Paul Bibby said he can't thank Hindpool PC Stephen O'Brien enough for dealing with the problem.

The Evening Mail reported earlier this month that fears for the safety of youngsters attending the club led to its closure after concrete slabs and heavy sand-filled road cones were hurled over a 17-foot wall.

The gang - five boys and one girl aged between 12 and 14 - made life a misery for adults and children attending the centre, including members of an Asperger's group.

Mr Bibby, 50, said centre users were subjected to vile verbal abuse, were prevented from entering the building as the youngsters blocked doorways, and had to deal with gang members continually attempting to break-in and stealing toys from young children.

He said: "PC O'Brien and PC Pete Cargan went to see the parents of the children who had been involved. PC O'Brien came down on them like a ton of bricks.

"We haven't seen sight or sound of them since. He's been brilliant.

"He has been to see the parents and has made an agreement with them all that they will stay away from the building and not approach users for a three month period.

"It is really good news and fantastic that the people who use the centre can start doing so again without fearing for their safety or having to put up with ant-social behaviour.”

PC Steve O'Brien said: "Before the Evening Mail story was published, we did not know the extent of the problem, or that it involved members of the Asperger's group.

"We took Paul's concerns on board and police officers and PCSOs working in Hindpool were able to identify those responsible pretty quickly.

"We visited the kids at home and have spoken to them advisedly in front of their parents and we got a good reaction from them."We devised acceptable behaviour contracts with them, which they have all agreed to.

"I think some kids aren't always aware of the consequences of their actions, but when it was put to them in a different context they were quite receptive.

“Their behaviour since has improved and we've had no requirements to speak to any of them again.

"I'm pleased we were able to get the facility back open as soon as we did."

Have your say

I think it is unfair to treat these kids this way, the poor little darlings are simply bored, their home lives must be very bad indeed if they think they can carry on like this. No, we as a society should reach out and embrace these poor mites, we should act in a responsible manner and find them a decent pastime, say in Iraq or Afghanistan for example! I'm sure the military would find them something useful to do, like playing mine sweeper with a hammer or hot wiring abandoned cars left at the roadside by insurgents for our brave, brave troops to find! Perhaps a more recreational pursuit, say playing tig with the odd suicide bomber maybe? Oh I dunno, the Army would no doubt be better equipped to find these little dears something to occupy their minds with! It's not like it would take much as they only have tiny brains to start with! Oh, and as for their parents they should be shamed in public and then flogged in the town centre and also made to join the Green party!

Posted by Mike on 19 October 2010 at 13:22

Good work by Barrow Police. Surprised that they didn't know about such a long running and serious problem though. Thought this community centre and the Aspergers Group would be at the top of the list for regular visits ?

Posted by casual observer on 19 October 2010 at 12:04

View all 3 comments on this article

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