Our quaint lakeside village has been ruined by gangster kids – they threaten to burn our houses down, it’s terrifying
A PICTURESQUE lakeside village is being ruined by child delinquents who threaten to set houses on fire, residents say.
The unruly teenagers are wreaking havoc on the lives of the people of Hemlington in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, urging locals to lock themselves indoors after dark.
A former police officer who used to patrol the area, which is popular with fishermen and dog walkers, said he saw men being attacked in the street and youths trying to set wildlife on fire.
Many walls are covered in graffiti, motorcyclists let the night through and teenagers wield machetes, it is said.
Mark Wilkinson, 62, said: “It used to get a bad rap for being a council estate.
“I don’t see a lot of anti-social behavior anymore because I don’t go out at night – but you can definitely hear it.
“You can hear the motorbikes on the football fields near the amusement park on the other side of the lake.
“The anti-social stuff has become less. But you can go to the shops and there is still a lot of graffiti.
“The kids will be nice one day, but another day you’ll want to go fast.
“We have a lot of car crime.”
The retired civil servant, who has lived in Hemlington for 20 years, said the sinking was a real shame as the lake itself can be “really beautiful” and the neighborhood was once beautiful.
“It was opened by Prince Charles in the 80’s and it was amazing back then,” added Mark.
“But there is the minority of young people who fly up and down their bikes and spoil it.
“If I was working and we got reports of antisocial behavior, we would go and tell them and that would stop it.
“I think the police now think some of these kids are too far away and whatever they tell them they don’t listen.”
Around the body of water there are remains of burned-out fires and burnt-out beer cans on the path.
A local, who declined to be identified for his own safety, said: “The problems come from the younger people.
“They start fires and cause trouble. I’ve seen them set fire to reeds and tried to set fire to the ducks in the lake – but if you tell them anything they will yell you back.
“As soon as it gets dark, I make sure I’m home. It’s a really unsettling feeling.
“I was talking to an old woman a while ago at 2pm who was waiting for a prescription and she told me she had to go home because she felt really unsafe.
“She shouldn’t have panicked for her own safety in the middle of the afternoon.
“The lake is beautiful, but the setting is the problem.”
As soon as it gets dark, I make sure I’m home. It’s a really unsettling feeling.
The center of Hemlington is home to a range of shops including a Tesco and Boots, but many of the independent shops have closed.
Walking through, mother-of-four Samantha Sargent said she hadn’t been to the lake in two years.
The 50-year-old said: “You always think you’re going to be mugged or pulled into the bushes – you just don’t know what’s going on around here.
“I was there with my children once and a bag of needles was pulled out of the bushes.
“I took them to the hospital because I didn’t know if they were bitten and caught something.”
A few months ago, Samantha said she saw children threatening to burn down an elderly man’s home.
“The people I was with chased her away, but the old man was shaking. It wasn’t fair at all,” she added.
The latest statistics show that Hemlington, which was built in the 1960s to provide cheaper housing for the people of Middlesbrough, is improving its crime rate.
Cleveland Police have cracked down on the area, issuing a series of dispersal orders, and Operation Fortress has been launched to tackle anti-social behavior, which has fallen by 50 per cent overall in Middlesbrough.
Pharmacy worker Andrea Carrigan, 47, said: “It’s okay where I live and I’ve been in Hemlington all my life, but if you go around the corner it can be a lot worse.
“Young people tend to congregate around the shops. Nine times out of ten they won’t bother you, but it’s intimidating when they’re in groups.
“I’ve only broken one window over the years, but you can hear them on their bikes by the lake.
“I don’t like to go to the stores after a certain time when there are groups of children, just to be safe.”
Even a mother who wanted to hide her identity stays at home when the sun goes down.
“The crime usually happens at night and I can’t get out then because I have my little one in bed,” she said.
“It doesn’t affect me now, but I do worry about the future when my son is older.
“I hope it changes by the time he gets to elementary school and starts playing with friends.
“If Hemlington is still doing badly then I’ll probably try to move to another area.”
However, Chris Lord thinks the property isn’t all bad.
The chef, 36, said while you see “lots of kids loitering around” it’s usually pretty uneventful.
“You bump into the weird kid who thinks he’s tough as nails but luckily where I live it’s actually pretty quiet,” he added.
“But you don’t only see children, but also older boys and people my age.
“They snoop around on bikes and threaten people, usually around shops.
“Sometimes I see the motorcycles going up and down the fields, but that doesn’t happen often.”
What is the crime rate in Hemlington?
As of January 2023, there were 205 street-level crimes in Hemlington.
The most common category was violent crime, followed by antisocial behavior.
- violent crime (75)
- antisocial behavior (22)
- Other theft (19)
- property damage arson (18)
- Public order (16)
- Other crime (13)
- Shoplifting (11)
- burglary (8)
- Drugs (8)
- Vehicle crime (8)
- Gun ownership (4)
- robbery (2)
- bicycle theft (1)
By comparison, nearby Brookfield had 182 incidents, Stainton 130, Tollesby 161 and Linthorpe 353.
https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/10464363/picturesque-lakeside-village-ruined-thugs/ Our quaint lakeside village has been ruined by gangster kids – they threaten to burn our houses down, it’s terrifying