Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Chester-le-Street, County Durham: Tracy Hannon
Mother of seven, Tracy, 36, says: ‘My daughter and partner went to speak to the boys and suddenly the youths hurled bricks at them and shouted abuse. ’
But the real disgrace, Tracy believes, was how the police handled everything.
Tracy says: ‘They came and arrested the boys, who denied all the charges. Officers said there was no point taking it any further because the courts wouldn’t back them up.
‘We’ve lived here for a year and in that time antisocial behaviour has got worse. The council say their hands are tied and the police say they don’t have the resources or are too busy to take action. We’ve never seen the local beat officer who's meant to patrol the streets.
‘It’s not good enough. Youths are being allowed to run riot because they know they can get away with it - that has to change. Something needs to be done to protect our families and our homes. If the police won’t help, then Mums’ Army will.’
Chester-le-Street, County Durham
Tel: 07913 887002
Portadown, County Armagh: Julie Moore
Mother of five, Julie, 47, says: ‘My daughter is just one of many people who have been affected by this horrific crime. I am joining Mums’ Army to safeguard our community.
‘We have to do something to stop this mindless thuggery. Lisa and her boyfriend were horrifically beaten with a sledgehammer and set on fire in their own home by a group of masked men. How can you stop brutality like that unless changes start from within the home? We’re raising a generation of violent thugs and must join together to take responsibility and create opportunities for our children.
‘A lot of people in Northern Ireland are suffering in silence from antisocial behaviour. Gangs congregate on our streets, intimidating and attacking our families. Yet people won’t confront these louts as they know, along the youths, that no action will be taken against them. The police do nothing. When they’re called, they don’t respond so people have given up on them. It’s time for us to stand up and say this isn’t acceptable.’
Portadown, County Armagh
Tel: 07738 387936
Middlesbrough, North Yorks: Shahzear Rani
A short while later her two-year-old son crept downstairs to sleep beside her. It woke her up and she noticed a bright light outside. She went to investigate and saw their car had been smashed up and set alight.
Shahzear, 22, said: ‘Fumes were coming through the front door and there was no way out. I’d parked in front of the house because our car has been broken into so many times. I dialled 999 and woke my daughter and sister-in-law. We were terrified and ran to the garage at the back of the house.
‘The fire brigade came straight away but I dread to think what could have happened if I hadn’t been sleeping downstairs.
‘Two other cars had been targeted that night. Our neighbourhood often gets infested with drunken youths. It’s sad there’s nothing to occupy their time. My children are scared of being in their own home and I don’t want them becoming part of this culture. I want our streets patrolled and fitted with CCTV.’
Tel: 07786 400181
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire: Yobs say sorry
Watching TV, Lyn Brashier was terrified when local youths hammered at her windows. It was the fifth night it had happened in the same week. So Lyn, 71, steeled herself and went outside to confront the yobs.
‘There were three boys aged about 12,’ she says. ‘I asked them why they were being a nuisance. They were shocked I had come out to face them and didn’t know what to say. When I told them I had already been through enough with cancer, they backed off.’
When Lyn turned to go back inside, she fell and broke her hip. The boys ran away leaving her lying in the middle of the road in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
‘At first I couldn’t move,’ says Lyn. ‘But I managed to crawl to the pavement before a car came along. Then my neighbours helped me inside my house to call for an ambulance.’
Lyn underwent a painful operation and spent almost two weeks in hospital.
‘When the story of my attack featured on the front page of my local newspaper I had some visitors,’ she says. ‘It was the boys. They came to apologise. I think they should be commended for visiting me on their own accord. They were genuinely sorry and two of them were crying. I was very surprised and pleased that they came. They have definitely learnt a lesson and I can forgive them for what they did because it shows they have some good in them.
‘I feel sorry for young people because they have nothing to do. When I was a teenager it was very different. There aren’t youth clubs or anything to occupy them. Something has gone wrong and the government and councils need to think more about the young.’
Newport, Gwent: Deanne Sansome
‘I’m joining Mums’ Army because I think the longer we ignore politics, the more problems we will have to face. I have three children I want to protect.’
Tel: 07840 995309
Barnstaple, Devon: Stacey Elford
A 16-year-old boy was arrested. He appeared in court on 11 counts of antisocial behaviour and yet he walked away without punishment.
Stacey, 28, explains: ‘I thought that justice would be done. But the boy has been in court so many times it doesn’t make any difference. We have to stand together. If things don’t change, thugs will continue to have an easy life.’
Tel: 07702 472830