Students fearful as pre-teen gang rampage local streets

The Gryphon spoke to students in Leeds about the events of the last week.

Following the recent reports of a machete wielding pre-teen gang in Hyde Park, West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that four arrests have been made. 

Jokingly dubbed the ‘Peaky Minors’ by posts on Facebook, the gang were terrorizing local residents. 

Incidents over the weekend included: sexual assault, armed robberies, theft and general harassment. Over 20 incidents have been recorded throughout the Woodhouse, Hyde Park and Burley area. 

Worryingly, many of the incidents reported happened in broad daylight. One victim described how they attempted to burgle her and a date at 3.20pm on Woodhouse Moor. She described how she was “disappointed” that the people around her did little to help.

The Head of the Leeds North West Neighborhood Police Team confirmed the arrests and assured residents that,  “We recognise the understandable concern that this sudden spate of incidents will have caused in the community and we have been working closely with our detective colleagues who moved swiftly to identify and arrest these suspects.”

He continued by saying, “We don’t expect to see any continuation of these incidents as a result of the action taken but we will be maintaining increased patrols of the affected areas to reassure residents and deter any further incidents.”

The age of the children has also been confirmed, shockingly ranging from just 13-15 years old.

These comments may be reassuring, but a number of local residents are understandably still concerned. This comes in particular after some reports indicating that the group was larger than four, suggesting that some members are still at large. 

A victim of a recent burglary described her shocking experience, detailing how the boys harassed her and her boyfriend in the park, stealing his phone and threatening to stab him. 

In terms of how the police responded, she said “At first the police were helpful in getting details from me and my boyfriend. Collecting details like where it happened and what had happened, they were quick with saying what was to happen next.”

However, as the night progressed, the police said, “they were busy so would just have to take a statement over the phone”. 

 “It does feel like we aren’t getting updates on the situation like we should be but overall they supportive giving us websites for victim support and stuff.” However, she expressed a concern over  “whether or not the police would actually police would actually show up/call us about anything.”

Another victim of an attempted robbery explained how the gang left when she told them that the police were in the area, so as to scare them off.  However, she explained the inevitable trauma the situation has caused, leading her to feel responsible for later incidents “I felt guilty when I saw the stories of people being attacked by these guys, knowing that I indirectly caused them to be mugged by these kids.”

Hence, many believe that further police action is needed to reassure residents of the area. There is also a call for additional support to be provided from the university for students who have suffered trauma at the hands of the group. 

Image Credit: Wikipedia