Gang member jailed for crimes

POLICE last night vowed to continue their crackdown on a gang of youths believed to be terrorising a Suffolk town after one of their members was jailed.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, was given an eight month detention and training order.

He is part of a gang that has been causing trouble in Leiston and officers spearheading the investigation hope the punishment sends out a strong deterrent.

The teenager was sentenced last week for a string of offences including two robberies in Leiston - one in March this year where a 15-year-old boy had his iPod stolen and another in April where a 13-year-old boy had his mobile phone taken.

It also included two assaults - one in April where a 22-year-old man was punched and another in May where a 20-year-old man suffered facial injuries in an incident in Saxmundham.

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A 15-year-old boy, who was charged with the second robbery, two other robbery incidents and a common assault, was given a youth rehabilitation order, which includes a supervision requirement, curfew, location ban and restrictions including a ban on associating with a number of named individuals for 12 months.

Further members of the group are due to appear at court over the next few weeks and officers have pledged to continue to target these individuals until their criminal behaviour stops.

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Sergeant Mark Beresford, of the Leiston Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “This group have thought that they are untouchable, however the jailing of one and an order against another clearly shows this is not the case.

“Court cases are pending against other members of this group, while others are on bail and police will continue to pursue individuals for offences.

“We would continue to ask members of the community, whether they be young or older, to come forward if they have any information about the activities of the group, to take a stand against their unacceptable behaviour.

“We are working to gather evidence and would ask anyone who can assist with information to contact us.”

Much of the ongoing investigation centres around burglaries in the town after police recovered stolen property at several addresses linked to the group.

Several members are now on bail with a view to burglary or handling stolen goods charges.

Any residents who would like to air their views or find out more about what is being done can attend a public meeting at Leiston High School on Thursday from 7pm.

Anyone with information about any members of the gang or their crimes can contact police on 01473 613500.

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