‘Feral youths are running riot in our town’

Sussex Police
Sussex Police

Families say their lives are being made a misery by feral teenagers running wild in their neighbourhood.

Residents in Kempston have reported violent threats, petnapping fears, shoplifting and vandalism to the police in recent weeks.

One College Court resident, who does not want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said: “We are really at our wits end.

“We are having awful trouble with what I believe to be a travelling family in the area.

“They have attempted to steal people’s pets, my car has been keyed, they have threatened my wife, they have threatened to kill my neighbour and she is a young woman living on her own.

“They are absolutely running riot, they are out of control.

“It feels like Camp Bastion down here now, everyone has their doors and windows locked. Everyone is on tenterhooks.”

Those responsible are believed to be three brothers aged from eight to 16 from a family who have been housed nearby.

“They are only children at the end of the day,” said the Kempston dad, “but they are just wild. There is no control over these youths at all. They are absolutely running riot.

“Kempston is a nice place and this is affecting a lot of people. It is an awful feeling – it is dread. I’m just worried about my family.”

He said he had recently learnt that one neighbour had been giving the troublesome boys cigarettes and money in a bid to placate them.

And when one female neighbour told the boys to leave her teenage daughter alone, they threaten to ‘slit her throat’.

He said: “It seems like the police and the community officers have their hands tied. When you have got people threatening to slit someone’s throat – how serious has it got to be?”

“People are phoning incidents in and nothing is happening.

“It has opened my eyes up - I was naive. I always thought that your normal citizen has some protection but when it comes down to it there is no protection.”

He fears the problem will escalate unless action is taken soon.

“It is like a naughty child. If a naughty child has no boundaries they will just keep going because they think they are untouchable.”

Bedfordshire Police Chief Inspector Steve Vesztrocy said: “We are aware of the issues and are working with partners and the residents to find a long-term solution to the problems being raised.

“We would encourage people to report any anti-social behaviour to police by calling 101.”