Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Chester-le-Street, County Durham: Tracy Hannon

When Tracy Hannon looked out of her window, she was shocked to see a group of boys had congregated outside. Next thing she knew, her family was under attack.
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.’
Tracy Hannon,
Chester-le-Street, County Durham
Tel: 07913 887002


Portadown, County Armagh: Julie Moore

After her daughter’s Girls’ Brigade mentor Lisa McClatchy was killed in a vicious arson attack, Julie Moore realised that things had to change.
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.’
Julie Moore,
Portadown, County Armagh
Tel: 07738 387936


Middlesbrough, North Yorks: Shahzear Rani

After returning home late one night, Shahzear Rani decided to sleep in the living room so she wouldn’t wake her children. It was a decision that could have saved her family’s lives.
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.’
Shahzear Rani,
Tel: 07786 400181

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Mansfield, Nottinghamshire: Yobs say sorry

At last some good news — the youngsters who apologised to the pensioner they left sprawled in the road...

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.’
Lyn Brashier,
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire


Newport, Gwent: Deanne Sansome

When Deanne local shop was yet again targeted by yobs, she contacted Mums’ Army. Deanne, 26, says: ‘Shop windows were smashed by boys who have been given antisocial behaviour orders for their previous vandalism. Yet I know the police will do nothing.
‘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.’
Deanne Sansome,
Newport, Gwent
Tel: 07840 995309


Barnstaple, Devon: Stacey Elford

Walking home down a dark alley after a night out with friends, Stacey Elford heard someone run up behind her. A thug in a hooded jacket ripped her handbag from her shoulder and threatened her with a knife.
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.’
Stacey Elford,
Barnstaple, Devon
Tel: 07702 472830

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