A mum whose son was beaten up by a young thug who tried to steal his bike, has called on the police to do more to tackle crime in Leighton Buzzard.
She is one of a number of residents in the town who claim that criminal activity in the area has increased over recent months and there is no sign of it stopping.
The mum, who we agreed not to name, has contacted Bedfordshire Police and Leighton Linslade Town Council about the problems.
She said: “We have had enough of what is going on, everyone knows who is causing the trouble, it is the same group and the same boy, it is the same group of kids that have been causing chaos in the town.
“It is the same child all the time, he is between 11 and 14, he beat up my son and tried to steal his bike. The police need to do more to sort the problem, it’s not that I think the police are not doing anything, I think it is difficult for them, by the time they get out there they are gone.”
Her thoughts were echoed by another resident, who told the LBO: “I have noticed an increase in crime in Leighton Buzzard, in particular, anti-social behaviour by children from the town. We need the police to do more to stop this behaviour.”
Leighton Linslade Town Council is aware of the recent incidents. Town clerk, Mark Saccoccio, said: “To help support local policing, Streetwatch has been established by a group of local volunteers.”
Councillor Tony Morris was one of the founders of the group, he said: “We felt it was needed to make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the town.
“Streetwatch was officially launched on February 18 and it is going really well, we have about 18 volunteers. In general, we do have a problem with anti-social behaviour here in Leighton Buzzard, it is difficult to tackle, the police are aware and they will deal with them.
“It is difficult to tar all 11-14 year-olds who ride bikes with the same brush, it is a small group that are causing the trouble.”
Bedfordshire Police says it is working with its partners to reduce anti-social behaviour in Leighton Buzzard.
Insp Annita Clarke said: “We have recently increased our policing presence in Leighton Buzzard, with PCSOs and officers from our dedicated Operation Sentinel teams patrolling the town and engaging with young people to ensure that they were not partaking in criminal activity.
“Where crime is found to have been committed by a young person, we work with our partners such as Central Bedfordshire Council, Streetwatch, and youth services, to not only identify the young people responsible but also to ensure a positive solution.
“We also look to involve the parents where possible and would encourage parents to work with us to promote correct, law-abiding behaviour.
“The majority of young people in Leighton Buzzard are law-abiding and a credit to their parents and school, however there will always be a tiny minority who do not behave in this way and whose behaviour gives the rest of the generation a bad name.
“I’d like to reassure the public that we are continuing to work hard to tackle all types of crime in Leighton Buzzard, and we have actually seen a decrease in crime in comparison to this time last year. In particular offences such as robbery, theft of pedal cycles, and violence, have fallen.
“We are aware that a small number of young people are still causing anti-social behaviour but we are working alongside our partners and the children’s parents to reduce this even further.
“Anyone who has concerns about crime in their area, or who wishes to report a crime, is asked to contact us and we will happily arrange for them to meet one of their local policing officers.”