A town is being ‘held to ransom’ by a gang of ‘feral’ knife-wielding thugs – many as young as ten.
Rampaging yobs in Hyde, Greater Manchester, have smashed shop windows, set bins alight and even forced a pensioner to defend herself with her walking stick.
Locals say the trouble has ‘spread like the plague’ and that people are now too scared to go out at night.
In one shocking incident a pensioner was set upon by a group of ten and 11-year-olds outside of a supermarket.
Rampaging yobs in Hyde, Greater Manchester, have smashed shop windows, set bins alight and even forced a pensioner to defend herself with her walking stick
The thugs, residents say, ‘think they are untouchable’ and that anyone who stands up them is verbally abused and in some cases attacked.
This weekend unidentified yobs kicked and punched holes in a children’s carousel in the town centre.
And in September a group of boys and girls attacked a market trader, who was later admitted to hospital.
Later the same month, other stall holders were pelted with bottles after telling a group youths to move away.
Police said they are also investigating an arson attack at the former Hyde college building on Clarendon Road
A business owner told of the ‘horror’ he and his colleagues face on a daily basis.
‘They’re constantly terrorising people, getting right up in their faces, smashing cars in the car park, setting fire to wheelie bins and pushing them against properties,’ they said. ‘There are kids walking around with knives. It is terrifying.
‘It feels like we are being held to ransom by these kids and it’s affecting business. Footfall is dropping, people don’t want to leave work in the dark because they are scared.
‘We are fed up. We pay our rates and our council tax and we deserve to feel protected and safe in our own community.’ It is thought two groups of youths, thought to be aged between 11 and 15, are causing the trouble.
A worker at Clarendon Square Shopping Centre told how colleagues were forced to dodge cans of fizzy drink being launched at them. Stores such as Iceland, Boots, Asda, Morrisons, Farmfoods and Tesco have been targeted.
Staff and customers are being goaded, threatened, spat at and stock is being stolen, workers say.
Locals say the trouble has ‘spread like the plague’ and that people are now too scared to go out at night. Pictured: Hyde Town Hall
In December, a man was viciously attacked at Tesco in Gee Cross after he confronted a gang of youths trashing a phone box
Mobile phone footage, captured last week, shows a group of youths being thrown out of Asda
In December, a man was viciously attacked at Tesco in Gee Cross. A shopper, who witnessed the incident, said the victim had confronted a gang of youths trashing a phone box.
‘I heard him telling them to stop,’ he said.
‘He then followed me into the shop and about half a dozen lads chased after him and dived on him.
‘They started punching him in the face, staff managed to get him away and to a room in the back of the shop.
‘There was an elderly lady in her 70s there, she was terrified, holding up her walking stick scared they would hurt her too. Little kids were crying.
‘Staff managed to get the group out and locked door. No one wanted to leave, everyone felt too intimidated. I walked the lady home in the end, she was so frightened.’
He added: ‘There can be as many as 30 of them at one time. It’s getting beyond belief. Look at them the wrong way and they will punch you.
‘What I’m worried about is the next generation coming through, this is the behaviour they’re seeing and there’s nothing to stop it.’
The situation has become so bad that community meetings have been held to address the issue
Police are investigating numerous incidents of verbal and physical abuse by boys and girls as young as ten
Last month, five teenage boys were slapped with civil banning orders stopping them going near the town’s bus station
A Tesco spokesperson confirmed they were aware of the incident – and that the store was ‘working closely with local police to help address anti-social behaviour in the area’.
Mobile phone footage, captured last week, shows a group of youths being thrown out of Asda.
They can be heard verbally berating staff and shoppers.
Police said they are also investigating an arson attack at the former Hyde college building on Clarendon Road.
Yobs broke into the premises, which is due to be demolished, on Sunday afternoon and started a fire on the first floor.
At a public meeting held on Thursday night, one resident said: ‘I’m worried that someone will die before anything is done. What’s next? Knives? Guns?’
The heated meeting was organised by the town’s traders. Many questioned what police and other agencies were doing to crack down on anti-social behaviour.
Officers acknowledged there was a lack of resources, but agreed it was time to find a solution.
A list of incidents, as well as CCTV, police log numbers, and suggestions on what steps to take, will be compiled and presented to council chiefs.
Steps have already been taken to tackle violence and anti-social behaviour.
Last month, five teenage boys were slapped with civil banning orders stopping them going near the town’s bus station.
Hyde sergeant Alan Sanders said his team was doing everything in its power to stamp out anti-social behaviour.
‘We are aware of a small pocket of individuals that have sadly been targeting businesses in particular in Hyde town centre,’ he said.
‘Anti-social behaviour is an issue we are fully aware of and neighbourhood officers continue to crack down on the problems and identify key individuals causing concern.
‘If you see anything please call us on 101.’