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Teenage thugs have left Leicester residents scared to leave their homes


Teenage thugs have left people scared to leave their homes, police were told at a public meeting.

Residents of St Mark's and parts of Belgrave, in Leicester, said they were subjected to threats and intimidation on a daily basis.

More than 50 people attended an emergency meeting at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre on Friday, at which residents put their concerns to police.

The meeting was arranged after 47-year-old Rajesh Devaliya was badly beaten by four masked assailants as he stepped into a lift in the St Mark's housing block, in Southey Close, last Monday.

Police are not linking the assault to a particular gang of youths but said the incident had heightened fears about anti-social behaviour.

Ward councillor Manjula Sood, who organised the meeting, said: "This was a despicable and terrifying attack.

"There are a lot of elderly and vulnerable people in Southey Close and neighbouring streets who are living in fear.

"One person I spoke to is too scared to go out of her house."

A 72-year-old resident of Southey Close, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm frightened to leave my home.

"There have been occasions where gangs of youths have been running along our main corridor kicking doors and scaring everybody.

"I've had people ringing my doorbell at 2am."

A student living in Harrison Road, which backs on to Cossington Street recreation ground, said: "These youths hang around on the street intimidating people.

"On Christmas Eve, they went on the rampage, smashing up eight cars parked in the road."

Another resident told the meeting: "Their anti-social behaviour seems to be escalating.

"They wear hoods to hide their identify and when the police do come they disappear over the park."

Mansukh Chohan, 58, a Belgrave resident and former city councillor, said: "I've lived here for many years and these problems are the worst I can remember.

"People are living in fear and something has to be done."

Coun Sood said: "Enough is enough. We all need to work together to solve this problem."

"We need better lighting around the park and gates should be locked at night.

"Fences should be raised and barbed wire added if necessary."

Friday's meeting was attended by Inspector Edward McBryde-Wilding and Pc Laura Nutt, of Latimer ward Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Insp McBryde-Wilding said the force was close to securing a dispersal order giving it powers to ban members of the gang from St Mark's, but needed support from the community to gather evidence.

A dispersal order means under-16s can be taken home to their families, while older troublemakers can be told to leave the area.

Those who ignore an order face being arrested.

Insp McBryde-Wilding said calls could be made anonymously and without the need for a visit by officers.

Speaking after the meeting, Pc Nutt said: "We are stepping up patrols in St Mark's, where youths hang around drinking and smoking, and have installed a mobile camera in Harrison Road.

"Another simple measure at flats in Brandon Street has been to move security gates back a few feet so the buzzers are more difficult to reach.

"We are determined to tackle this anti-social behaviour and hope we've been able to offer residents some reassurance."

Teenage thugs have  left Leicester  residents scared to leave their  homes

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