Friday, February 15, 2008
Grimsby, Lincolnshire: Debbie and Steve Hall
Debbie, 43, of Laceby Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, explains: 'Kids used to hang about in gangs and terrorise the neighbourhood, just because there was nothing else to do.
'So we hired a church hall and every week put on a disco for the local youths. We went on to teach a dance class and held bingo nights - and our project is still growing.
'We've taken kids who had gone down the wrong path and set them straight again. It is heart-warming to see.'
Now four years on they have secured funding for a state-of-the-art youth centre with an indoor play area, arcade and Laser Quest arena.
But despite their best efforts, Debbie and Steve are now the subjects of a frightening hate campaign, with some of the perpetrators being the same teens who used to attend their club nights.
Debbie says: 'Our car windows have been smashed, out house vandalised and I've been physically and verbally attacked.
When I report it, my family is targeted again. But we won't give up.
'It's easy to blame the authorities but I believe that to respect others you have to respect yourself and that's what Steve and I try to teach the kids at the youth club.
People have the passion to make things better but they're either too scared or don't know how to use it. I'm joining Mums' Army because I will never stop fighting for a better community.'
Tel: 07789 781162
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Grimsby, Lincolnshire: Nicky Piercy
Nicky, 34, of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, says: 'Nathan suffers from diabetes and had just built up enough confidence to go outside and play with his friends.
'One day as he rode home, two women tried to take his bike. When he refused to hand it over, one of them pulled a syringe out of her bag and threatened to stab him with it.'
Nicky called the police, who informed her that the woman was wanted with nine other offences.
'They said it would be a priority case,' says Nicky. 'I was sure she would be arrested straightaway.'
But months passed and when Nicky asked what was happening, she was told that the Crown Prosecution Service would not be taking the case any further. They said that as the woman had been laughing at the time, it was not malicious and probably a joke.
Nicky continues: 'I'm absolutely furious. The police said they couldn't find her to arrest her, but this woman lives just around the corner from us.
'Nathan is terrified of seeing her again and won't go out without me. He's a prisoner in his own home, whereas she can wander around freely, terrorising the neighbourhood.
'I won't let this matter rest and have written to my local MP for support. Our children need better protection on the streets.'
Tel: 07875 951235
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear: Alison Bolam
Alison, 26, of Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, contacted Mums’ Army and said: ‘It was the middle of the night and I had to drag my two young children out of bed and into the bathroom because it was the only room with a lock.
The men were shouting and breaking everything we owned with metal bars. They even destroyed my four-year-old son’s Spider-Man bike.
When the police arrived 25 minutes later, they arrested one of the men. But because I couldn’t identify him, he was released.
‘I’m too afraid to go back home but the council won’t re-house us. We’ve been staying with friends and family ever since.
‘Now my son has started having nightmares. Wherever we are he has to be constantly reassured that no one can get in at night.
‘I’m supporting Mums Army because innocent people are being put at risk and something needs to be done about it.’
Tel: 07934 305230
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Sunderland, Tyne & Wear: Adele Brett
Adele, 27, of partick Road, Sunderland, wrote to Mums' Army. In her letter she said: 'I was pleased to see your feature on Anarchy in the UK. As a victim of anti-social behaviour, it was good to see such support.
'Kevin was 22 when he was murdered. We'd just come home from a night out with friends and heard people arguing in the street outside our house. He went to ask them to keep the noise down.
'The next thing I knew, they were hitting him. I called the police but when I went outside the boys had gone and Kevin had collapsed on the grass.
'They'd stabbed him four times with a craft knife. The fatal wound was in his heart.'
Dean Curtis, 19, and two youths were found guilty of Kevin's murder and given life sentences.
Mum of two Adele added: 'Because of his age, the boy will serve a maximum of 12 years. If he does, he'll only be a year older than I am now when he's released.
'I've joined Mums' Army because if we stand together, the Government will have to listen. Things must change.'
Tel: 07708 067932
Friday, January 04, 2008
Colchester, Essex: Rachel Hawley-Thomas
Next day, Rachel, 38, of Colchester, Essex, called the Mums' Army hotline and explained: 'We had scaffolding put outside our house and a gang of kids had climbed up on it. They were knocking on out bedroom window and shouting.
'When AJ threatened to call the police, they left. But I lay awake the following two nights until the scaffolding was eventually taken down.'
Mum of three Rachel added: 'We've had to put up with yobs shouting abuse and throwing eggs at our house for the past six years. Once they even threw a bicycle saddle through our dining room window and hurled in dog mess wrapped in burning newspaper at our front door.
'My youngest daughter has learning difficulties and my two eldest used to take her to play in the park. But now they're too scared to go near it because it's become a hang-out for gangs.
'I'm joining Mums' Army because I'm at my wits end. The council do nothing and all the police can do is hand out ASBOs, which are seen as badges of honour here. It's time something was done to protect decent people.'
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire: Michelle Jeffrey
Michelle, 39, of Mount Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, explains: 'My 14-year-old son Damien got into a fight with some kids at school because they'd scrawled disgusting comments over one of his books.
'The gang gathered outside my house, hurling insults. After the incident with the firework they smashed my window.
'Then they doused all the clothes on my washing line with petrol and set fire to them. They also tried to set fire to my front door curtain. I told the police but they just don't seem interested in catching the culprits.
'I've decided to join Mums' Army because I feel as if no one's listening to me. Decent people shouldn't have to live in fear.'
Tel: 07787 315859
Caerau, Cardiff: Maria Greenslade
Maria, 32, of Caerau, Cardiff, contacted Mums Army and explained: 'Sam is wheelchair-bound but it doesn't stop him leading a normal life.
'When Mum told me what the police had said I was appauled. I have two sons of my own and my youngest has the same condition as Sam. They should be free to go out like everyone else, not made to feel isolated.'
She added: 'The park is littered with drug paraphernalia and overrun by teenagers in the evening.
'My eldest boy is scared to go out on his own. He scales a 6ft wall to his gran's house just to avoid walking past the gangs.
'Most kids around here roam the streets during the day, having been excluded from school. Their behaviour is so bad I'm sending my youngest son to a school 40 minutes away.
'I have decided to join Mums' Army because at the moment we are still the majority. We need to unite to save our community.'
Tel: 07999 864214
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Darlington, County Durham: Mick Neave
One of the boys shouted: 'What the **** are you looking at?'
The yob raced over and struck him on the arm with a length of wood.
Mick, 57, of Darlington, County Durham, told Mums' Army: 'When I straightened up, he hit me again. Then I saw another youth coming towards me and I lashed out with my fist, which caught him in the face. Thankfully that was enough to scare them off.
'Half an hour later I felt a pain in my chest and reached for the heart-monitoring device on my belt. That's when I realised it was missing. The police think the boys stole it during the attack because it looks like an iPod or mobile phone.
'I'm supporting Mums' Army because although the kids on my estate are kind and well-behaved, not all youngsters are being taught respect.
'When you can't even put the rubbish out for fear of being mugged, you know things have got out of control.'
Tel: 07780 787699