Belgrave families scared to leave homes because of yobs
A teenager has told how families in her area are scared to leave their homes at night because of yobs' anti-social behaviour.
The 18-year-old student, from Belgrave, has started a petition which her councillor, Manjula Sood, presented to Leicester City Council.
The petition, which had 57 names on it in a week, is calling for more and better lighting in the streets around the Cossington Street recreation ground, in Belgrave, in a bid to deter the yobs.
The De Montfort university student, who lives in Harrison Road but does not want to be named, said: "Enough is enough.
"The situation has got so bad the residents felt something had to be done to try to get our voice heard.
"A lot of the people down here do not speak very good English so when I was asked to represent them in this way I accepted.
"We have started a petition to stand up for ourselves against these yobs who are making our lives a misery."
She said residents had had windows smashed, cars broken into and vandalised and many had been threatened with violence.
She said: "Many residents are too scared to leave their homes at night. They should not be living in terror like this."
Leicester City Council and Leicestershire Police have approved a dispersal order covering every street in both Belgrave and Latimer wards, after complaints that teenage thugs were intimidating residents.
It means police can disperse troublemakers from the area, with under-16s taken home to their families, and older people being ordered out of the two wards.
Those who ignore an order face being arrested.
Police have revealed they used the order to disperse seven teenagers – four boys and three girls – from the Belgrave and Latimer wards on Wednesday, January 23, after they were found to be behaving anti-socially.
The new order came after 47-year-old Rajesh Devaliya was badly beaten by four masked assailants as he stepped into a lift in the St Mark's housing block, in Southey Close, two weeks ago.
Police are not linking the assault to any particular youths, but said the incident had heightened fears.
A similar order was made in Belgrave in March last year – focusing on the Cossington Street area – but it has since expired.
Councillor Manjula Sood is backing the residents and supporting the petition.
She said: "The residents are suffering badly and it is time to listen to them and try to fight back against these horrible yobs.
"We need to let the residents know we support them and will try to deter troublemakers and arrest people who break the law."
City mayor Peter Soulsby said: "I have met with people in their homes to discuss their fears and listened to residents' concerns at the public meeting at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre last week.
"The dispersal order I approved at that meeting will help police manage the problem of groups of youths loitering in the area, which was a big concern for many. We will be keeping a close watch on how effective that is.
"I have also given an assurance I will continue to work closely with ward councillors to explore whether other steps, such as CCTV or more street lighting, may be required."
A spokesman for the city council said the dispersal order would last for six months.