Gangs of up to 20 yobs fighting in Buckland street, riding motorbikes on paths, inhaling laughing gas
GROUPS of up to 20 people have been spotted fighting in a street plagued by anti-social behaviour.
Seymour Close in Buckland has become a hotspot for nuisance during the last month in lockdown.
Fights have broken out repeatedly in the last two weeks, including one incident on June 2 at 3.45pm when a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of having a Taser-style weapon. He is under investigation.
Yobs have, on at least seven occasions reported to police, been seen riding motorbikes and scooters up and down the street anti-socially.
Riders without helmets have been careering along the footpaths and alleyways that criss-cross the connecting streets.
Police warned this ‘causes a risk to members of the public’ – but groups have gathered taking turns to ride the bikes.
Teenagers have also been seen sucking gas out of balloons and leaving silver cylinders nearby. It is a way of inhaling laughing gas, nitrous oxide, which is illegal when sold to take as a drug.
Youngsters have been loitering in the external stairwells, with reports of drug-related activity ‘to the extent residents have complained of it causing health issues’.
A 64-year-old woman living nearby, who did not want to be named, told The News: ‘You see it every time you pass.
‘There’s gangs all the time sitting in the stairwells. You just see crowds of them.
‘It’s obvious what they’re doing. You can smell it – it's terrible.’
Police have imposed a 48-hour dispersal order in Portsmouth after unruly groups of youngsters repeatedly hurled abuse at residents.
Officers said there had been ‘numerous incidents in the area over the last month,’ prompting the order, which started at midday on Thursday.
Latest figures publicly available show very low levels of anti-social behaviour incident in the street in April this year with just one incident.
The sudden spike in bad behaviour is being tackled by police, with anyone causing problems set to be dispersed by police.
Officers have been conducting extra patrols, Hampshire police said, after repeated problems with groups in the street.
The order ends on midday on Saturday and includes Buckland Park, Agincourt Road and Arnaud Close.
Sergeant Colin Kirby added: ‘We know from having spoken to residents in the area how much anti-social behaviour can have a negative impact on people’s lives and this is simply not acceptable.
‘While we have ensured that we have extended our patrols in the area, we also feel that making use of these powers to disperse groups of people will help us further to tackle this issue.
‘While we are all still doing what we can to keep each other healthy during the ongoing pandemic, we want to reassure our communities that our core work around making our neighbourhoods safer for everyone is still our priority.’
A police spokeswoman said: ‘This action comes in response to concerns raised by residents living in the Seymour Close area of the city.
‘We’ve been made aware of numerous incidents in the area over the last month, involving groups of young people congregating outside and being abusive to residents.’
A 32-year-old man living in Seymour Close told The News the street was split into elderly people and those with young families but that it was a good community.
He said: ‘You get kids hanging about round here every day.
‘You can't expect kids to stay indoors.’
The man added groups congregated due to the nature of street, which has outdoor stairwells, an exposed footbridge between blocks of flats and small open spaces and car parks between blocks.
Anyone refusing to leave when told to do so by officers could be committing a criminal offence.
Children under 16 will be taken home and police will speak to their parents.
Anyone concerned about anti-social behaviour or groups of people gathering should call 101 or report the matter at hampshire.police.uk