'Enough is enough' - Sheffield community responds to shooting

A community in Sheffield has united in the wake of a shooting to reclaim the streets from the drug dealers and anti-social gangs which have been plaguing the area – insisting that ‘enough is enough’.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 4:22 pm
Updated Friday, 15th May 2020, 12:09 pm

Residents of Nether Edge were left reeling after rival groups opened fire at each other on Machon Bank, close to Abbeydale Road, last Friday, May 5, in what was one of a series of four shootings across the city in less than 24 hours.

The terrifying scene unfolded just outside the Common Ground Community Centre, which is used by groups for everything from dancing and drumming sessions to classes run by Family Voice for women who speak English as a second language.

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A police cordon on Machon Bank in Nether Edge, following what was one of a spate of four shootings in less than 24 hours across Sheffield

Common Ground and Family Voice said trouble had flared up again after a police camera which had been in place outside the centre for the best part of a year was removed in January, and the area was taken over by drug dealers and ‘intimidating’ groups of men.

Determined not to let the violence derail what they call a ‘wonderful success story of community effort and passion’ by all those involved with the popular hall, meeting rooms and garden, they decided to take action.

They spoke to local residents, one of whom said they felt ‘angry that these people have taken away my security and freedom’, about how to address the long-running problems.

“People talked about the increased need for anonymous reporting of anti-social behaviour, strained police resources, how the community need to get together and that ‘enough is enough’,” the organisations said in a joint statement.

The police camera on Machon Bank was restored on Monday, as had already been planned before the shooting, and on Tuesday people attended an Abbeydale Stakeholders meeting where Inspector Colette Fitzgibbons described how officers investigating the shootings had already made a number of arrests and seized drugs and firearms.

Police patrols have been stepped up, Sharrow Community Forum is working with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to increase reporting of anti-social behaviour, Family Voice is creating a multilingual guide to let people know what they can do, and Common Ground plans to extend its CCTV coverage to deter criminals.

“We are still a little fragile but with lockdown a little loosened, increased police presence and the weather due to improve, we are feeling hopeful that the garden will be safe and used again by families and dog walkers over the coming days and weeks ahead,” said Common Ground and Family Voice.

“That is not to say that moving the drugs issue to another place is the answer. People across this community also work hard on the wider and long-term issues of drug dealing – with schools (increasing awareness of how to engage young people from different backgrounds), with families (reducing isolation and increasing confidence and knowledge) and with young people (MumsUnited running anti-knife crime courses).

“There will of course be more discussion and positive action to come. Nether Edge, Abbeydale and Sharrow are beautiful, diverse and vibrant areas of the city with a strong sense of community.

“These events affect everyone across our community and we will not be divided but will come together and work hard to make sure we have a safe, welcoming and wonderful neighbourhood for everybody.”

The other shootings last Friday happened on Union Road in Nether Edge, where a gun was fired at a house; on Grimesthorpe Road in Burngreave, where shots were fired at a group of men, hitting three of them; and on Club Garden Road, Sharrow, where a man was injured after shots were fired at a flat.

On Tuesday night, a 21-year-old man was knifed in his chest on Main Road in Darnall.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.