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Residents are afraid to leave their homes on a crime-ridden estate where “feral youths” abuse pensioners, steal vehicles and commit other violent crimes.
The teenagers, who “think they run” the Orchard Park estate in north Hull, are said to be particularly savage in the nighttime when they’ve been alleged to take motorcycles, mopeds, quad bikes or even cars.
One woman, who lives on the estate, told Hull Live: “They sped past me on the grass and almost hit me.
“I shouted after them and they stopped and gave me a mouthful of abuse. It could have got worse, they just didn’t care and the aggression was really frightening. Then they just sped off.
“That’s the thing now. They think they are above the law. They get away with it and they think they’re untouchable. They think they run the estate.”
A bus was repeatedly stoned in recent weeks on the estate so that service – a lifeline for families and pensioners – has now been suspended.
Taxi drivers politely decline to take fares after being attacked on the roadside in the area, it is claimed.
Two young men, Kane McBride and Adam Wright, died last week after crashing what is believed to have been a stolen motorbike in the area.
A resident said: “It’s sad that two people have died but one day, and this will happen, it will be a child or a pensioner that they knock down and kill. Will all their pals come out with wreaths and graffiti then?
“There are a couple of old folk near me and they can’t get the buses into town now because they’re suspended.
“And because of the problems down at the local shops they don’t like going there either.
“People already feel like prisoners in their homes.”
Groups of young people – wearing balaclavas and masks – gathered for “vigils” to Kane and Adam last week on the estate.
They congregated on bikes at the scene of the accident.
More than 30 per cent of Orchard Park residents are aged 15 or under. The estate’s crime rate is also high. In the three months to January, there were 682 crimes reported in the area around Hall Road. Violence and public disorder top the list.
A shopkeeper said: “This estate is absolutely ruthless.
“Some of the shops get horrendous abuse. But, they wear balaclavas and carry knives, so who’s going to confront them?”
The manager of a mechanic in the area said: “They’re awful, and most of them are old enough to know better – about 19 to 25. The police won’t do anything, unless you can prove they have a knife or something.
“Cars left in our lot overnight have been damaged before, so it’s costing us our business now. Something needs to be done about it.”
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Humberside Police acknowledges that Orchard Park has problems, and they have been carefully monitoring the activity of young people in the wake of the fatal crash. They insist that they are working closely in the community to try to prevent and stop youngsters falling into crime. They point to sporting initiatives with Hull FC and boxing gyms which have been successful in showing young lads in particular that there is more to life than Twocing, court and prison.
In an interview with Hull Live, Assistant Chief Constable Darren Wildbore said: “We are aware of the posts on social media of groups who appear to have stolen bikes. This is an issue being addressed by officers from Operation Yellow (which specifically tackles motorbike crime) who act on intelligence.
“Engaging with young people is fundamental and we do a lot of youth engagement. We take different approaches demanding on the level of offending. If it is very low level then we will take these young people home and speak to their parents and get the youth engagement team involved.
“If it looks like they are moving on to more serious crime we can try to divert them through education and look at their family life. We also have a police officer or PCSO attached to every school in the area.
“But we will not tolerate criminal behaviour and if we need to, we will take it to the investigation stage and get the courts involved.
“But it is important we continue to engage with young people. While we have robust measures in place to deal with crime, we are trying to divert young people away from that in the first instance.”
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