A teenage gang that has been terrorising Goring residents dramatically gatecrashed a community meeting last night.
Residents of The Avenue and Collingwood Road in Goring met with police officers and councillors at St Richard’s Church about a group of youths who had left them ‘living in fear’ for 18 months.
Police had been offering advice on how to combat the delinquents, but rushed outside as bicycles pulled up and teenage faces appeared at the windows.
As has been so often the case over the last 18 months, the group managed to avoid the officers and make their escape.
Read more about the gang here: Worthing residents ‘living in fear’ after gang’s 18 month reign of terror
During the meeting, The Avenue resident Jackie Smith repeated claims that the gang had been vandalising cars, banging on windows and running along rooftops with impunity.
She said one reason it had got out of hand was the difficulty in reporting crimes through 101.
“The waiting time on 101 is disrespectful and unacceptable,” she said, adding she had waited in a queue for more than two hours.
“We deserve respect and most of all we deserve to live in peace.”
Sergeant Craig Burgess said it was vital that residents report all incidents so that police knew the extent of the problem, suggesting filling out an online form may be easier than using the phone service.
He also acknowledged the same group was likely responsible for trouble around the David Lloyd leisure centre in Romany Road and along Littlehampton Road.
“We know it is a problem as we have a lot of crimes reported in this area,” he said.
“During the summer this area was a crime hotspot. It dropped off again but has been back on since about October 1.”
He said cuts to police numbers meant patrol officers were a ‘luxury’, but residents accepted an increase in patrols in recent days had seen the gang become less active.
Frustrations on both sides were typified by one resident’s story of the gang breaking into two of his lock-ups and smashing up his classic cars – breaking windscreens, pulling off tyres and pulling off wing mirrors.
When asked if he had reported the incident, he said he had not as he ‘did not see the point’.
Sergeant Burgess said police would set up a dedicated phone number for residents to use to report incidents related specifically to the gang and planned to use dispersal powers to break up the group.
He also encouraged residents to form a neighbourhood watch scheme.
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