GANGS of teenage yobs are wreaking havoc across the west of Hucknall, it has been claimed.
Angry residents say groups are gathering on the streets in the early evening, causing outbreaks of anti-social behaviour.
Problems are particularly rife on the Ruffs Estate where there has been an explosion in criminal damage in recent weeks, with attacks on cars plaguing the lives of residents.
Davina Williams, secretary of the Reach Out residents’ group, said: “These groups are hanging around and being abusive and intimidating. Things are getting worse.
“There have been a lot of complaints. They are not just affecting one or two people. It is everyone who lives in the area.”
It is claimed that gangs of up to 20 youths, aged between 14 and 17, have been seen hanging around. Some of them are said to be drunk.
The last month has seen an increase in attacks on cars, with wing mirrors smashed and bodywork damaged.
Residents also say there has been damage to buildings on Ruffs Estate.
Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler, points out that crime in Hucknall overall has been reduced by more than 22% over the last year.
But he recognises that criminal damage is a problem and particularly in the west of the town.
He said: “There is no such thing as low-level criminal damage. To someone out having a bit of fun and who has maybe had a drink, breaking a wing mirror perhaps isn’t that bad.
“But to the victim, it could cost up to £200, which cannot be claimed back on insurance, and it makes that person feel unsafe in their home. Every time they hear a noise in the evening, they will be up at the window.
“We have had some success in driving down crime but I want to see levels of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour coming down more quickly.”
Extra police-patrols have already been rolled out in areas of Hucknall as part of Operation Animism, which is dedicated to targeting anti-social behaviour hotspots.
Youth workers will also visit schools to talk with young people about their behaviour and make them aware of the impact of the disruption they cause.
Insp Butler added: “This is sometimes symptomatic of poor parenting.
“If you have a 13-year-old son or daughter, do you know where they are on a Friday night? Are they drinking? We are working very closely with parents.”
Weapons available include acceptable behaviour and parenting contracts. These are formal commitments to to be law-abiding residents.
Insp Butler added: “In Hucknall we perhaps get three reports a day about nuisance behaviour.
“For the vast majority of time, the streets are quiet and calm. But if problems do happen at night for five or ten minutes, it can disrupt people’s lives. Groups of teenagers can be very intimidating.
“We have to balance our approach with a right to freedom. However when it is accompanied with rowdy or noisy behaviour, we will intervene and do something about it.”
Anyone who spots something suspicious or is the victim of anti-social behaviour is urged to call the police on 0300 3009999. Alternatively, ring the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111