Teenage gang in court for 'racially motivated crime spree'
Categories: Latest News
Thursday May 01 2014
Local paper, the Express and Star, reports on the trial of five teenagers in court for offences committed during an ‘eight-day racially-motivated crime spree’ in Cradley Heath last year.
The teenagers, all aged between 15 and 16, are accused of “using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress and using such words so that people would believe violence would be used against them, and criminal damage. A 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, has already pleaded guilty to three racially-aggravated assaults, criminal damage, and harassment with words in relation to the same incidents.”
The alleged victims, all of them Muslims, include an eight year old, two elderly men aged 68 and 70, and a man whose car was so badly damaged it had to be written off.
Appearing at Sandwell Youth Court, the victims recounted the verbal abuse and physical attacks endured when they were set upon by the gang. Two of the incidents occurred as victims made their way to or from the local mosque.
In one incident heard in court, a mother who was leaving the mosque in Plant Street with her three children aged eight, seven, and three, said they were racially abused and sworn at by the gang before the eldest child, a boy, was spat at and slapped across the head by one of the gang.
“During a police interview, which was played to the court, the eight-year-old said: “I was scared. I thought he was going to get his gang friends and bully me.””
Police arrested the teenagers last November and stepped up patrols in the Cradley Heath area to reassure locals. Police officers also visited schools to enhance public awareness about anti-social behaviour and introduced local surgeries “to improve local community contact and re-assurance.”