Crime crackdown on Sudbury estate a success

A HOUSING estate has beaten a scourge of anti-social youngsters thanks to fresh initiative by police and council workers

Will Clarke

A HOUSING estate has beaten a scourge of anti-social youngsters thanks to fresh initiative by police and council workers

Mayflower Way, a small estate in the north of Sudbury, was a quiet area until early last year when intimidation and vandalism suddenly increased.

A primary school in the area suffered 11 crimes of damage, arson and burglary in just four months and the police where called out 71 times to numerous instances of anti-social behaviour.

But now, thanks to Babergh District Council's Be Active project, the police and the Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team all working together, crime in Mayflower Way has been slashed.

Sally Watson, Babergh's Anti-Social Behaviour Network Officer, said: “Literally overnight this area became a real problem.

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“Large groups of young people, aged between 11 and 17 years old, started gathering after school up until the early hours of the morning causing a nuisance to those in Mayflower Way and surrounding roads.

“At one point I was getting calls daily from residents terrified or fed up with the behaviour, which included setting bins alight, graffiti, damage to cars and property, as well as verbal abuse and intimidation.”

One 67-year-old resident described how youths made her feel trapped in her home - unable even to go into her garden during the height of summer: “It was pretty bad there were gangs kicking balls against the house and my windows.

“One night they even took a pot shot at the house with an air pistol and they cracked a window. All the neighbours along here were affected - they were a nuisance night after night. But now it is all back to normal, no balls and no litter - the police have been very helpful.”

The area was targeted with the deployment of a mobile police station and an increased police presence, funded by the Babergh Community Safety Partnership. Residents were also involved by keeping diary sheets and reporting forms for instances of anti-social behaviour.

The youths were then given Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, interviews and official warnings at police stations, as well as referrals to activity programmes, such as Babergh's Be Active programme.

The approach cut anti-social behaviour 74%.

Inspector Paul Crick, of Sudbury Police, said: “The Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team holds regular engagement events and meets with the public to discuss any concerns they may have, and will continue to work with partners to tackle issues.”