Fears of yob culture in Suffolk town
A YOB culture in Hadleigh may spiral out of control if more steps are not taken to quell out-of-control teens.That's the fear from some residents in the quiet market town recently hit by a spate of arson attacks and where school teachers have become the latest group under attack.
A YOB culture in Hadleigh may spiral out of control if more steps are not taken to quell out-of-control teens.
That's the fear from some residents in the quiet market town recently hit by a spate of arson attacks and where school teachers have become the latest group under attack.
Inspector Lincoln Pratt said: "There have been some recent reports of cars damaged and eggs thrown at the homes of some High School teachers."
Ex pupils with a grudge or current school children may be to blame, he added.
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Tackling youth crime is now a priority among Hadleigh officers as they try to halt the 'spiral of decay' by cracking down on more minor offences.
Inspector Pratt said: "Patrol officers now report not only potential fire hazards but even graffiti which we hope to remedy as soon as possible.
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"If young people get used to living in a run down environment then they lose respect for the area and are more therefore more likely to commit an offence. It is a spiral of decay."
New Neighbourhood Watch schemes, more youth workers and encouraging good practice among pubs and off licences are among the measures taken by police.
And as summer approaches, beat officers will also target teenage 'hang outs'.
Martin Freeth, head of Hadeigh's Chamber of Commerce, said: "We have a definite problem with vandalism in Hadleigh.
"Kids go down the high street punching out the small Georgian windows as they go. They windows at the Guildhall were smashed recently and there's been an increase in brawling in the street."
Mr Freeth, who has three children, believes the problem could be solved by encouraging more leisure activities for young people.
He said: "I believe the problem with the current town council is that they are all too far away from their own children.
"Ideally I would love to convert the disused United Reform Church into an arts centre. There are lots of clubs in Hadleigh but none of them are integrated with each other. An arts centre could provide a place for young people to go and help foster arts in the town."
n Martin Woods, 24, and Samuel Tecklengberg 22, are both due to appear before Ipswich Crown Court charged with two counts of arson.