POLICE patrols have been stepped up in Kingsteignton after a surprise spike in crime incidents in the town thought to be linked to an evolving gang culture.
Officers will be out and about in the area over the weekend in response to growing concerns about the rising tide of violence believed to be linked to a group of identified youths.
Elderly residents have also been intimidated by yobbos whose exploits have included theft and criminal damage.
Dispersal orders have been issued to some suspects in the hope the problems will be nipped in the bud.
About a dozen youths aged between 14-17 are behind the Kingsteignton grievances.
This weekend’s re-assurance and intelligence-gathering exercise comes after a sudden upturn in reported crimes involving ‘nasty’ bouts of violence.
In one incident a man was beaten up after challenging half-a-dozen thugs on a car-wrecking spree in the Crossley Moor Road and Clifford Street area.
The victim suffered a head and ankle injury in the assault which involved some six offenders described locally as ‘fearless and nasty.’
The casualty, who has not been named, was taken by ambulance for treatment at Torbay Hospital. The incident happened at 7pm on January 30.
More than a dozen crimes have been logged since the end of last month, many of them deemed more serious than the run-of-the-mill diet of disorder and juvenile japes.
It’s understood one of the ringleaders of the troublemakers had recent links to a similar bunch of thugs operating in Torquay.
Officers believe that most of the 16 criminal damage and assault matters brought to their attention in the last fortnight are related to the same culprits.
Detectives are treating one serious assault as a case of grievous bodily harm.
Newton Abbot police chief Adrian Woon confirmed that extra resources were being committed to the Kingsteignton area in the wake of recent incidents.
‘We have increased patrols in parts of Kingsteignton with the aim of making sure these matters are sorted out quickly and efficiently.
‘Those involved should be under no illusion that they can get away with what is being reported. They will be dealt with robustly,’ he promised.
Anyone with information of help to police inquiries can ring them on 101 or they can use the confidential Crimestoppers facility on 0800 555111.