WATCH: Baffins residents kick-start police petition to end anti-social behaviour
Anti-social behaviour, discrimination and blatant theft.
These are some of the things Baffins residents claim they have faced at the hands of gangs of teenagers roaming the area.
For the past few years, they say packs of youngsters have got away with terrorising the community.
But now, people are desperately appealing for police to take action.
Denise Earley, of Sunningdale Road, took to the streets to gather signatures in a petition aimed at highlighting the number of those affected by the disorder.
The document – which is also being displayed in shops – will be handed to police later this week.
Mrs Earley, 57, said: ‘This all started again about two weeks ago. There have been kids forcefully banging on my kitchen window five or six times every day. We’ve got four dogs – they go crazy when they hear it – and I’ve only got one leg, so when I’m alone I can’t even go out if I need to.
‘On my birthday, they knocked so hard I fell out of my chair and injured my hand. We called the police but they couldn’t help because they went off duty. That’s not good enough – we want answers.’
Businesses and residents backed the petition as Denise canvassed outside McColl’s in Tangier Road on Monday – a hub for the anti-social behaviour.
An employee at the store who lives nearby, 30-year-old Charlotte Setford, said: ‘This is a shameless generation that knows they are untouchable and they prey on that.
‘We get it all the time. The kids come in, pick things up and walk out – they even eat sweets in front of us without paying for them. I would love to see a change after this petition but I am pessimistic.’
Catherine Batholomew, 35, runs Jesters, the fancy dress shop next door.
She said: ‘On Saturday, about 10 of them came into the shop picking items up, throwing them around and running off with things. I should not have to feel frightened in my own store.’
If action is not taken soon, Denise – who says she has been mocked by the culprits about her amputated leg – fears she may have to move.
She said: ‘We’ve collected about 100 signatures today – these people need to be charged. Two parents of the kids have said sorry but nothing has changed. I don’t feel like living in my own house, I feel like going away and never coming back.’
The community plea comes just over a week after an 18-year-old boy was robbed at knifepoint at Tangier Road. A spokesperson for Hampshire police said: ‘We are aware of concerns raised by local residents relating to shoplifting and youth anti-social behaviour and nuisance in Baffins. Neighbourhood officers regularly patrol the area and take action where appropriate. We continue to encourage residents to speak with our officers and report crime to us on 101, so we can build a better picture of criminal activity and adjust our response.’