Teesside anti-social behaviour: Watch the moment youth attacks Thornaby woman's home

Anti-social behaviour in the Cleveland Police area has dropped, but it is believed people may be reluctant to report the crime. Credit: CCTV

A victim who has been plagued by anti-social behaviour from gangs of youths for four years, has spoken of her terror after they surrounded her and screamed in her face.

The Thornaby woman – who does not want to be identified for fear of retaliation – said she has been physically attacked, spat at, her son punched seven times in the face, and her windows have been repeatedly smashed. Something which has been caught on her CCTV camera.

She said: “One time it was dark. They surrounded me and started screaming ‘grass’ at me, in my face.

“I’m not an easily scared person but when I walk up the street and see them, it knocks me sick.”

The constant anti-social behaviour has left her fearful of leaving the house with her children in case they are targeted.

She continued: “I’m scared they’ll kill them [her children], if they get hold of them. The only way I can describe it is that they are like a pack of baying wolves.”

She feels she has been targeted because she has made hundreds of reports to police about continuing anti-social behaviour issues in the Thornaby area.

It is a topic on the political agenda ahead of the next election with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying in his New Year speech that plans to tackle the problem, while Labour have pledged more money for neighbourhood policing to make the streets safer.

In the Cleveland Police area, reports of anti social behaviour have actually fallen by 46% between 2018 and 2022.

However, it is thought that some people may be reluctant to report the problem.

Police in the Hemlington area of Middlesbrough have been running a special operation, to tackle high levels of anti-social behaviour, for almost a year. It is understood reports have fallen dramatically there.

Councillor Jeanette Walker, who represents Hemlington for Middlesbrough Council, says she hopes police would continue their work there to try to tackle ongoing problems.

Last year, Councillor Walker had to move her elderly mother out of her home of 44 years, after her step-father was injured when young people threw a brick at his head.

She said: “It got to the point where I thought, this is dangerous. I had to move them out of that house, and it was sad.

“We have to win this battle against anti social behaviour. People deserve to lead a good quality of life.

“It’s like a cancer and I’m not saying that lightly, and unless you start treating it at the root cause, it’s never going to get better.”