Gangs need guidance claims former member

GANGS of youths in Felixstowe ought to be accepted but they need guidance to stop them going off the rails, claimed a former gang member today.The 19-year-old who refers to himself as Brown Eye, told The Evening Star that gangs are an integral part of growing up and that they ought to be taken more seriously.

GANGS of youths in Felixstowe ought to be accepted but they need guidance to stop them going off the rails, claimed a former gang member today.

The 19-year-old who refers to himself as Brown Eye, told The Evening Star that gangs are an integral part of growing up and that they ought to be taken more seriously.

A group of Orwell High School girls have highlighted an increase in out of school bullying and an escalating violent gang culture which has separated the youth of the seaside town making their lives a misery.

"I think we need to accept gangs as a way of growing up but also need to take them more seriously and try to guide them more," said Brown Eye.

"The problems the girls talk about have always been present and will never disappear.

"I'm 19 and was in gangs since I was about 12. The idea of a gang is very appealing to all youngsters as it a good way to socialise and to help you feel like you are more than nothing and belong somewhere."

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The student, who is no longer a gang member because he wants to devote his time to his studies, said he became one of the leaders of Felixstowe's largest gang when he was 14.

"The gang had become solely members of our own age and grew to about 50. We used to meet at Safeway's superstore and had some great nights out down there. We would organise all sorts of activities like skating and football and were rarely in trouble.

"We had visits from the police and social workers and had good relationships with both.

This gang disbanded after a while but soon a new larger gang sprang to life with an age range of 12 to 20. Brown Eye said this had never happened before, the gang members were normally of a similar age.

"Eventually we found alcohol and boredom - the gang began getting in trouble so I left. They now had a name, 'Felixstowe massive' and began to get a lot of unwanted attention, with no older members left, most followed

me and left, they had no one to control them and they began making their own rules.

"They began assaulting a large number of people and so became something no one wanted. Now most are either in prison or on their way and so the gang no longer exists."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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