Thursday, November 30, 2006


Bradpole, Dorset: Maria Sims

For years Maria Sims has been intimidated by neighbours within her block of flats.
Maria, 38, explains: ‘Almost every day I get abuse from drug addicts. I suffer from panic attacks. When I call the police they say they don’t want to be called out on such matters because there’s nothing they can do. This is why people are reluctant to report crimes.
‘We need to stand together to make the police take notice.’
Maria Sims,
Bradpole, Dorset
Tel: 07837 275676


Hounslow, Greater London: Andrea Porteous

It was the middle of the night when a thug tried to smash his way into Andrea Porteous’s home and threatened to set his dog on her and her two daughters.
Andrea, 38, contacted Mums’ Army and said: ‘He broke the lock but somehow I managed to keep hold of the door to stop him, then he fled. After that I knew I had to move my children to safety.’
It wasn’t the first time something had happened in the six months Andrea had been living in Hounslow, Greater London.
‘Within a week of moving here, two people were stabbed,’ she explains.
She has moved now and says: 'I don’t know if I’ll ever feel safe. I’m joining Mums’ Army to do whatever I can to help others.’
Andrea Porteous,
Hounslow, Greater London
Tel: 07772 426463


Olney, Buckinghamshire: Frances Gutteridge

When Roger Gutteridge, 63, approached youths causing trouble at the bottom of his drive, he was pelted with cans, bottles and stones.
His wife Frances, contacted Mums’ Army. She says: ‘Yobs use our property as a gathering point to take drugs. My husband was trying to photograph them because the police won’t take action unless we can identify them. Fortunately he wasn’t seriously hurt, but I want to make sure there isn’t a next time.
‘The vandals seem to be streets ahead of the police.’
Frances Gutteridge,
Olney, Buckinghamshire

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Salford, Greater Manchester: Renee Cavanaugh

Soon after moving into her home grandmother Renee Cavanaugh, 64, saw a gang of local youths vandalising an empty house. She called the police and the yobs launched a hate campaign against her.
Renee says: ‘Almost every night for over two years the kids threw bricks and fired air rifles at my house. They shouted abuse, hurled beer cans at me and left knives and dead birds at my door.
‘When I decided to confront a gang of about 30 kids, one boy repeatedly kicked and punched me in the stomach. Weeks later they surrounded me and threatened to burn my car. When they let me go I was shaking with fear.’
Wracked by stress, Renee then suffered a heart attack and had to stay in hospital for five weeks before returning to her home in Salford.
Then one of the yobs came to her door and told her: ‘We’re going to have you murdered and cut your body up into pieces.’
‘Everything he said was recorded on my CCTV camera,’ says Renee. ‘I showed the tape to the police and gave the council the tapes and diaries I’d kept for the past two years.’
The 15-year-old leader of the gang has been given a two-year antisocial behaviour order and Renee can now finally live in peace.
Renee says: ‘I fought a one-woman battle and now I’m joining Mums’ Army to help stamp out antisocial behaviour full stop. We’ve got to stand together and fight back.’
Renee Cavanaugh,
Salford, Greater Manchester
Tel: 0161 9506496


Stockport, Greater Manchester: Beverley Everett

While attending a wedding reception at her local community centre, Beverley Everett had no idea that a group of youths were outside breaking into her car.
Beverley, 50, explains: ‘It was still light when the car was stolen. They drove it down the railway tracks and then set it on fire. It seems that youths now have no fear and it’s terrifying.
‘I have six children and four grandchildren, and I've seen how society has got more and more violent. I’m dreading the time when my three youngest children become independent and want to go out.
‘My 21-year-old daughter recently went to a nightclub with her cousin and when he tried to protect her from a local yob, he was attacked and had his nose bitten off. She has also witnessed a young man being kicked in the head and now refuses to go out at night.
‘Violence to this degree is down to a total lack of respect and discipline — yob culture has to be stopped.’
Beverley Everett,
Stockport, Greater Manchester
Tel: 07951 840891


Carlisle, Cumbria: Jenny Boothman

After a year of torment from a neighbour, Jenny Boothman brought together her community to force the council to take action.
Mum of two Jenny, 52, says: ‘We lived in a nice area until a young mother moved in next door. Teenagers went into her house every night to drink alcohol and play loud music. My garden was treated like a toilet and they left behind bottles and knives.
‘My neighbours and I kept antisocial behaviour diaries but we only got results when we pressured the council. Finally the woman was evicted but only because we stuck together.
‘There are still problems. I don’t want to be forced to move away but my children have already left because they don’t want to raise their families here. Let’s act now before it gets worse.’
Jenny Boothman,
Carlisle, Cumbria
Tel: 07944 023247

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Telford, Shropshire: Pamela Ayres

Pamela Ayres was relieved when her daughter stopped hanging around with a gang of girls causing trouble in their neighbourhood. But she had no idea of the consequences.
Pamela, 55, explains: ‘Two of my grown-up daughters were jumped on by eight of the girls when they went to collect their children from school. They were kicked and punched in front of my grandchildren and have since had to take them out of school. My eldest son, who has learning difficulties, was targeted as he walked home. He was terrified.
‘We moved here from Liverpool for a better life but it’s a living hell because we’re not locals. I’ve been to the police. People tell me I should go back to where I’m from. There's no support for us so I called the Mums’ Army Hotline. I don’t know who to turn to. How far does it have to go before we’re moved to safety? We shouldn’t have to live like this.’
Pamela Ayers,
Telford, Shropshire
Tel: 07969 985871


Buckfastleigh, Devon: Nikki Lane

Armed youths patrol the streets of Nikki Lane’s neighbourhood carrying chains, knives and baseball bats. Their parents and the police are ineffective but she's determined to restore safety in her area.
Nikki, 40, says: ‘The antisocial behaviour is unbelievable. It’s the same group of kids all the time — smashing windows, fighting, drinking and taking drugs on the street. They are terrorising the residents. No one feels safe to go out at night. People are afraid but it’s important for us to speak out or things will only get worse.’
Nikki Lane,
Buckfastleigh, Devon
Tel: 07976 321685


Hull, East Yorkshire: Pam Storey

After four years of harassment Pam Storey found peace when her unruly neighbours were rehoused by the council.
Mother of four, Pam, 43, says: ‘It’s been a battle. Glass jars were thrown into our garden, dog excrement was hurled at our house and we were constantly threatened. The police took no action and I was lucky abusers asked to be moved — otherwise they'd still be making our lives hell.
‘Even though the problems have gone from my doorstep, I’m joining Mums’ Army because I’m determined to do everything I can to better this region.’
Pam Storey,
Hull, East Yorkshire
Tel: 07958 587414


Swanscombe, Kent: Lisa Williams

A nine-year-old boy broke into a car so he could sit and smoke cannabis with his friends. When he was confronted by the owner he just attacked her with a stream of verbal abuse.
Lisa Williams, 22, witnessed this and was so shocked that she joined Mums’ Army.
She says: ‘As a mother of three, I look at destructive youths and dread to think that my children will turn out the same.
‘I have seen children making people’s lives hell by throwing stones, smashing windows, puncturing car tyres, stealing and hurling abuse — something has to be done.’
Lisa Williams,
Swanscombe, Kent

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Corby, Northamptonshire: Alison Galloway

Walking on a quiet path to their weekly St John Ambulance meeting, Alison and her 13-year-old son Tony were surrounded by a gang of yobs.
Tony, who has learning difficulties, was punched in the face and Alison was hit across her back with a stick.
Alison, 41, says: ‘I begged them to leave us alone and threatened to call the police, but they continued to attack us with sticks and stones so I turned my back on them and dialled 999 on my mobile. I turned round just in time to duck as one of them swung a piece of wood at my head. We got to the main road and then they left us alone. We were lucky to get away.
‘The police have been useless. I wanted to press charges but they said they’d have a word with the boys. No action has been taken.
‘We’ve been bullied a lot over the past few years and it’s time to put a stop to it. I’ve read so many stories in Take a Break about how yobs target old and sick people — it’s disgusting. They can’t be allowed to carry on like this.
‘My husband Dave and I have joined Mums’ Army because it’s time that our community worked together to live in safety.’
Alison Galloway,
Corby, Northamptonshire


Walsall, West Midlands: Chanté Sayers

When a boy with blood on his face knocked on a door, he was welcomed inside and given help by an 82-year-old man. And his thank you? The boy robbed him.
The man’s granddaughter Chanté Sayers, 30, contacted Mums’ Army. She says: ‘My grandfather is a trusting man. When the boy said he’d been beaten up, he made him a drink and called the police. While he was on the phone the boy stole my grandfather’s wallet and my gran’s handbag.’
Her grandfather was targeted again as he played with Chanté’s three-year-old niece.
Chanté explains: ‘They were riding on his mobility scooter when a youth bombarded them with water bombs. They were knocked to the floor and my grandfather’s glasses and hearing aid were broken. Thankfully other children came to help, but the youth got away with it.
‘Things are getting worse. The last two times my fiancé went into the town centre he witnessed two stabbings and my brother-in-law was held at knifepoint for his mobile phone.
‘I blame lenient penalties. The Government has to listen to us.’
Chanté Sayers,
Walsall, West Midlands


Blackburn, Lancashire: Amanda Gallager

Following many years of bullying from antisocial neighbours, Amanda Gallagher, 28, contacted Mums’ Army because she can take no more.
She says: ‘My nine-year-old daughter has been attacked. Our family is woken up in the middle of the night by drunk and abusive neighbours who threaten to burn our house down.
‘I've been filling out police antisocial behaviour forms for three years, but I am the only one speaking out because other people here are too scared.
‘I’m joining Mums’ Army in the hope that I can encourage others to combat what’s happening.’
Amanda Gallagher,
Blackburn, Lancashire


York, North Yorkshire: Layla Creffield

Moving into their first home in what they thought was a nice area, Layla Creffield and her fiance soon saw their new community was full of crime.
Layla, 23, says: ‘Within days we found out the owner of a local shop had been beaten with a pickaxe handle in front of his son. We then saw a young boy throw a rock through the window of a neighbour with learning difficulties.
‘Our car and garden shed are constantly broken into. All the incidents have been reported to the police, but we have only been visited by an officer once!
‘We are so sick of having to pay to get things fixed and replaced. I want to see the police take action.’
Layla Creffield,
York, North Yorkshire

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