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Crack down on Clock Tower yobs

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Police have broken up gangs of youths who have been causing trouble around Leicester's Clock Tower.

A number of different groups of 15 to 18-year-olds began gathering at the city centre landmark in the late afternoon and evening earlier this year.

The groups, which police say created an "intimidating" atmosphere, have fought among themselves and vandalised property, including stalls on nearby Leicester Market.

City centre police began a campaign – codenamed Operation Passenger – to deal with the main troublemakers at the beginning of May, in response to a series of complaints from businesses and members of the public.

Since then, they have arrested 10 people for a range of offences such as criminal damage and assault.

Inspector Chris Cockerill, commander of city centre police, said the number of complaints had now fallen but the operation would continue.

He said: "It's nice to see people meeting up with each other at the Clock Tower, it's an iconic location.

"But when you have groups hanging around causing the problems we have seen there it becomes intimidating for other people.

"In the main, it's 15 to 18-year-olds and the problems tend to be between 4pm and 9pm.

"It's centred on the Clock Tower but it has spread to the surrounding area, including the market.

"We've had incidents of vandalism on market stalls in the evening and some minor assaults, usually between members of these groups.

"Things have improved because we've been patrolling there regularly and dealing with the main sources of the trouble, but the operation will continue."

A shop manager, who asked not to be named, said: "The Clock Tower has always been a popular meeting place, but the sad thing is that some people can't behave themselves in public.

"Things have definitely been better over the past few weeks since the police started dealing with these particular groups.

"Kids gathering at the Clock Tower has been a problem in the past and will crop up again in the future, but I trust the police will deal with it then, too." Shopper Clare Thomas, 39, of Thurmaston, said: "Groups of youths hanging around in the evening causing trouble will make people feel unsafe.

"People want to come into the city centre in the evening and they don't want to feel intimidated by groups who have nothing better to do than cause trouble."

Another shopper, Barry Mace, 42, from the Narborough Road area of the city, said: "I feel sorry for the kids nowadays because everything they want to do is so expensive, but there's no excuse for bad behaviour."

Crack down on Clock Tower yobs


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