Stevenage children prisoners in their own homes

A MOTHER claims her children are imprisoned in their own home because anti-social behaviour and extreme violence is rife in their neighbourhood. The woman, who did not want to be named, has lived at The Hyde in Stevenage for four years. She said: In that

A MOTHER claims her children are imprisoned in their own home because anti-social behaviour and extreme violence is rife in their neighbourhood.

The woman, who did not want to be named, has lived at The Hyde in Stevenage for four years.

She said: "In that time I have witnessed anti-social behaviour, drug-taking, underage drinking, fighting, vandalism and criminal damage.

"My children are imprisoned in my home as I am scared to let them play outside.


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"They have been woken on numerous occasions and have also witnessed anti-social behaviour and extreme violence."

Another resident told The Comet: "It's not safe. I don't go out much and I mind my own business. I only use the shops during the day because in the dark youths are always around. No one can sleep."

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A trader at The Hyde, who did not want to be identified, said that often a group of 20 to 30 youths gather outside his shop and intimidate the staff. "We call the police, and they come, but they can't do anything," he said.

Herts Police says it has made The Hyde a top priority, with particular emphasis on combating anti-social behaviour between 6pm and midnight. It is currently the most patrolled area in the Shephall ward.

A spokesman for Herts Police said: "We have also had three separate operations carried out in the area, tackling underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, and we will continue to work proactively with regular patrols and closely monitor this area."

The Hyde is the only area in Stevenage, outside of the town centre, that is a designated no alcohol zone and police have the power to seize open containers. However, police say very few incidents which occur at The Hyde involve alcohol.

Most of the calls they receive relate to groups of youths making too much noise, or playing football in the shopping precinct.

Cllr Ann Webb, who represents the Shephall ward on Stevenage Borough Council, said: "There have always been problems at The Hyde, that's why we started The Hyde Out (community centre) some years ago."

She added: "We have got a good police presence in Shephall.

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