More than 20 people have been charged with crimes including violent disorder and drugs offences, as police try to crack down on warring groups believed to be involved in a Mexborough turf war.
The arrests come as part of a police operation to target two rival groups in Mexborough which officers say have been acting as though they believe they are ‘above the law’, carrying out arson attacks, criminal damage and assaults.
Police have charged a total of 21 people over the past few months with offences including violent disorder, grievous bodily harm and possession with intent to supply class-A drugs.
More officers have also been deployed to patrol in Windhill, Schofield Street and Oliver Street, where much of the activity is reported to take place – but residents say they still feel intimidated.
One resident, who declined to be named, said: “It’s very intimidating, to be honest.
“It’s always kicking off near the park on Schofield Street. Police are coming around a lot, but it’s still going on.
“When police come it clears them off, but then they just come back afterwards when they’ve gone.
“I’d like to see a lot more done about it by police. They need to be here all the time if they really want things to change.”
Another Mexborough resident, who also declined to be named, said the clashing groups often brawl on the street and fight over ‘tagging’, when graffiti is used to brand a street or area with the name of a group.
They said: “I’ve seen riot vans called up to Schofield Street at least once.
“I’ve seen people with weapons before. With baseball bats, knives, pieces of metal, piece of wood, anything they can get their hands on, really.
“I always go out to a friends on weekend nights, because I know it’s going to be kicking off all the time.
“I’m not scared, because I know how to handle myself and keep myself to myself, but I know there’s lots of others who are.”
South Yorkshire Police say the arrests come as part of a continued operation to crack down on criminality in the area.
Superintendent Natalie Shaw said all the incidents were being treated as a ‘priority’.
She said: “We have increased our presence in the area, including extra officers on patrol, mounted officers and various other police resources have been deployed into the town, to provide reassurance to residents and to be able to immediately respond should any incidents occur.
“We have made numerous arrests over the last few months, with 21 of those charged with a variety of offences including violent disorder, grievous bodily harm and possession with intent to supply class-A drugs.
“Nine of those charged have been remanded into prison and removed from the streets and this concerted effort will continue as we will not tolerate unrest in our town.
“We are working in partnership with other public sector agencies to be able to use all resources available to tackle the issues.
“We also have a dedicated team who are reviewing recent anti-social behaviour legislation in a bid to apply anti-social behaviour as additional offences wherever possible.
“We are determined to maintain peace in Mexborough and ensure it is a safe place to live, work and visit and I would encourage and support all residents to report any issues anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, or call us on 101 if they have any concerns.”