Police chief appeals for calm

A SENIOR police officer today appealed to residents in a crime-hit area of Ipswich not to take the law into their own hands.Police were investigating reports of anti-social behaviour and were gathering evidence against a group of teenagers who are believed to be behind a mini-crime spree.

A SENIOR police officer today appealed to residents in a crime-hit area of Ipswich not to take the law into their own hands.

Police were investigating reports of anti-social behaviour and were gathering evidence against a group of teenagers who are believed to be behind a mini-crime spree.

"One 17-year-old is interesting us in particular - and we are in the process of getting evidence together in this case," said Inspector Chris Mayhew of Ipswich police.

His comments came after frustrated residents warned they may be forced to take direct action after a series of incidents.


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These came to a head last week when a group of youngsters drove a car dangerously around the Downing Close/Cambridge Drive area.

Matthew Freeman community development worker at nearby Downing Primary School was alerted when the car flew past him.

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He said: "They sped down the close and did a handbrake turn.

"They hit the kerb and damaged the wheel and were trying to fix that.

"We try to keep an eye on what is happening within the community and thought the car might be stolen."

Police were called to the area at about 3.45pm and a patrol car arrived 45 minutes later.

But Mr Freeman said it only drove round a small section of the close while the youths tinkered with the Vauxhall Nova elsewhere.

As the police drove off, another member of the public called their control room to say they had missed the group.

And when they had not returned by 5.45pm another resident made a third call.

During the early hours of the following morning, the fire service was called out to deal with a burnt-out car in Newnham Court.

Mr Freeman added: "The police keep saying that they are trying to tackle anti-social behaviour and we called them with the names of those involved and they did nothing.

"In the end the fire brigade had to be called which costs more tax payers' money."

Another resident claimed police had been called to the area on seven occasions throughout the afternoon and evening.

The man, who wishes to remain nameless because he fears reprisals, also claims that the gang of youths stole the wheels from another car in Cambridge Drive.

They then went back to Fitzwilliam Close and replaced the wheels on the Vauxhall.

He now claims that residents are considering taking the law into their own hands.

He said: "Over the last six months these boys have been causing mayhem we know who they and the police know who they are.

"They say leave the law to us and we have - seven 999 calls were made with no response and the people round here have had enough.

"Next time they are about the dads in the area have said they will sort them out."

Insp Mayhew said residents should never take the law into their own hands.

"We are aware of their concerns and are taking active measures against those who we believe are responsible - although we have to gather the evidence.

"On this occasion we went to the scene as soon as we got the call but the car had gone within seconds. It isn't easy to catch them in the act.

"But we are working on this case - and we are making progress. The last thing we want is for local people to do anything silly. Call us if there is a problem," he added.

N What do you think should be done to tackle anti-social behaviour? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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