Dan Warbrick (33) says five youths threatened to “beat up” his stepdaughter (12) and stepson (10) while they were playing in Lostock Hall Recreation Ground in Croston Road last week with their mum.
When Lancashire Post reported on the incident earlier this week, many people shared similar stories of being targeted by yobs in their area while others called for authorities to clampdown on anti-social behaviour.
Another user, named Emma Louise, claims she regularly witnesses violent gangs in the streets, commenting: “I see it all the time: vandalising bus stops; running around with hammers chasing other kids (the police were informed, [they] came out and did nothing); beating each other up; and smashing bottles. It’s so bad on a weekend. Something happens every weekend without fail but the police do nothing at all.”
Rick Davies says he confronted a youth who attacked him while he was cycling.
“One threw a bottle at me when I was on my bike! It’s strange how he wet his pants in front of me when I gave him a grilling. He was about 16 as well. Soft when you get them one on one,” he said.
Marje Turner said: “[There’s] always been a gang culture in Lostock Hall, Bamber Bridge and Preston. We moved out when our [children] were young (nine and seven). [In] 1984, it got really bad, but [I] suppose everywhere is the same now. Very scary.”
And Amanda Corner commented: “[There are] so many young people full of hate and anger wanting to hurt others. Absolutely awful.”
Christine Maestri says Bamber Bridge is also a hotspot for antisocial behaviour, adding: "[At] Lostock Hall train station, I think they’ve decided to just do away with the one ticket machine now because it’s smashed within days every single time."
Christine believes the council should offer more help to community members trying to keep children off the streets.
"What’s even sadder is there are people in the community wanting to help, set up youth groups etc but they’re getting no support from the councils. Super frustrating," she said.
"[Youth clubs] won’t do anything for the current ones, but they sometimes do a good job at protecting the next. [They] might be able to stop the next ones who are only six or seven right now and already getting involved in the wrong crowd."
Some readers, like Gayle Bolton, think it is up to the police to stamp out anti-social behaviour. She said: “These same scum also think it’s acceptable to enter private areas to smoke their drugs, which are supplied locally. It’s about time we had local police who are able to deal with these incidents as and when they happen. No good phoning as you just become a statistic on a councillor's clipboard. No point trying to talk to the scum because you only get a mouthful of abuse and threats.”
What's more, Amanda Mcgarry worries more police presence is vital to prevent vigilantes from dealing with thugs themselves. She said: “I agree, totally ridiculous the lack of police. They [the gangs] are there every night causing issues around the village. They are like feral children. One day someone will take matters into their own hands and get into trouble. Just not right.”
But Agnieszka Aleksak, who fears being harrassed by gangs, says she feels “so powerless” reporting antisocial behaviour to the police.
“This problem is everywhere. It affects adults as much as children and businesses (small or big). They feel like they are above the law when confronted by anyone. Absolutely shocking how some of these kids behave. You just feel so powerless because reporting it doesn't change anything - actually it can make things worse for you,” Agnieszka said.
Mark Collier agrees, commenting: “It’s the same all over the borough. We’ve reported incidents to the police and all you get is nothing. We have the same problems in the Worden Park play area. The police came back with, ‘It’s rural so [we] cannot patrol the area.’”
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