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Families live in fear from youth gang

PUBLISHED: 19:12 23 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

THEY proclaim themselves the biggest and baddest crew and terrorise residents.

Young and old hide behind locked doors in their flats and when darkness falls they worry what will happen next.

THEY proclaim themselves the biggest and baddest crew and terrorise residents.

Young and old hide behind locked doors in their flats and when darkness falls they worry what will happen next.

Over the last six months youths in Ipswich have gone on a wrecking spree – setting fire to cars, breaking into sheds, smashing up windows and doors of flats and trashing cars at night.

Nazi symbols are daubed in graffiti on the inside of a block of flats in Bader Close and out of sheer audacity 18 youngsters have signed their name on a wall saying they rule.

At his wits end resident Michael Girling spoke out today fearing someone would get seriously hurt.

Last night his front door was smashed in by a thug wielding a wooden plank.

Just minutes beforehand his friend's Ford Fiesta car had its windows smashed.

The 50-year-old, who takes anti-depressants as a direct result of the problems, said: "It happens every night.

"The security doors are no good. They just climb up the drainpipe and open the door and let their friends in. They are just kicking in the glass just for the sake of it.

"I am not worried myself, just worried about other people who live here. Something needs to be done. It is getting way out of hand. People are wondering what will happen the next night.

"These youngsters could set fire to something and kill someone. I don't go out there at night because I am worried I am going to get hit.

"People are too terrified of walking out of their front door because of the problems. Some just keep their curtains closed all the time because they can't bear the hassle.

As Mr Girling was speaking the smashing of his glass door could clearly be heard in the background. He is due to go to hospital to receive treatment for arthritis – but says he can't go because he is worried about leaving the flat.

The flat below him has been wrecked by the youths.

"They trashed the place, light switches, everything," said Mr Girling.

The thugs have also smashed almost every window of the former Four O Five Sports and Social Club which is now boarded up.

A police spokesperson said: "We are aware of the current problems in the Bader Close and Linbergh Road area.

"We are trying to tackle these problems and are acting on all complaints from local residents.

"We would urge anyone with any information to come forward to help with our inquiries."

Meanwhile police are also concerned about the number of under age drivers they have dealt with in the Greenwich, Gainsborough and Nacton areas of the town.

It appears the youths are buying unroadworthy and untaxed cars for a small sum and driving them around the estates.

Inspector Andy Solomon said: "This is a very worrying trend. Recently officers patrolling this part of town have dealt with five youngsters, all under 17 years of age, driving vehicles which they have purchased off local residents for small amounts of cash."

He urged people to think about who they are selling the cars too.

"A quick sale may be desirable but it must be remembered that these vehicles in inexperienced hands could be fatal.

"It may be a relative or friend that could suffer injury or even death as a result of the use of these vehicles by underage drivers."

People with information on these crimes contact Ipswich Police on 613500 or crimestoppers 0800 555111.

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