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'Gang warfare' blighting parts of Swindon says local Labour leader

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image captionWiltshire Police said it has recently increased patrols in Penhill and Pinehurst

An "outbreak of gang warfare" in two areas of Swindon has made residents afraid to go out, according to the leader of the town's Labour group.

Jim Grant told a Swindon Borough Council scrutiny committee meeting that crime and anti-social behaviour in Penhill and Pinehurst must be tackled.

In a follow-up letter he wrote that recent stabbings and public disorder were "a tragedy for the town".

Wiltshire Police said it had recently increased patrols in both areas.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said in the article, Mr Grant wrote: "99% of the people of Pinehurst and Penhill are law-abiding citizens who shouldn't have to go about their daily lives in fear of what's happening on their streets.

"We need to come down hard on the 1% or less of people who are perpetrators of these criminal activities."

Mr Grant said long-term strategies are needed which "create jobs, decent housing and health outcomes so that people aren't trapped in a generational cycle of poverty, deprivation and crime which continually impacts on the lives of others".

image copyrightSouth Swindon Labour Group
image captionJim Grant said crime and anti-social behaviour in Penhill and Pinehurst is a "tragedy for the town"

Among several serious incidents recently, a woman in her 40s was left with a life-changing injury to her hand after being stabbed in Penhill.

And three people were arrested earlier this month after a teenager was stabbed in Pinehurst.

Wiltshire Police said it had increased patrols in both areas in recent weeks, and will continue to take "a robust approach" to such incidents.

Swindon Borough Council leader David Renard said: "The gang-related events taking place in Penhill and Pinehurst are deeply concerning and both the police and our council officers are taking strong measures to respond to it.

"We are all committed to keeping our children protected from the insidious actions of the gangs and to protecting our communities who do not want to live under such circumstances."

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