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AIBU to feel frustrated? Attempted theft of bikes incident, police not interested.

(130 Posts)
HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 11:59:27

DH and DD(7) went for a cycle yesterday along a cycle track that runs all the way into our local city centre. It's safe (or so we thought), runs alongside a river for a few miles so is a pretty run and passes a lovely coffee shop half way through. Perfect for my eager DD cyclist.

3 miles into the run, my DH and DD were surrounded by a gang of youngsters who tried to intimidate them into surrendering their bikes. There was glass spread across the whole track and DH slowed to a halt to lift the bikes over and it was then that these kids appeared from behind pillars of a bridge. DH said that he counted approx 12 of them, ranging from about 6 years of age to 14 years of age. DH had picked up both bikes at the same time and told DD to stay close and walked the 3 metres or so over the glass. One of the older lads barged into DH but he kept walking, but all the while starting to feel real anxiety because DD was with him.

He urged her to get on her bike and gave her a shove to start her off quickly but heard some of the kids say "push her off, get the bike". He gave them an earful but they laughed at him, told him to "f*ck off" and that they all had "iron bars to batter him with". Some lads had started to jog after my DD so he flew after her but they all started chasing and throwing stones. One stone caught DD at the back of the head, thumped off her helmet and another stone caught her on her bottom. Big enough to leave a bruise.

They did get away, Thank God, but are really shaken by the whole ordeal. DD who by no means is an easy crier, sobbing and white as a sheet. DH telephoned the local police at the coffee shop, police arrived but told DH that the kids were most likely from the gypsie site nearby and were more or less above the law. They admitted that they wouldn't be following it up because it was known amongst the police that gypsie's would find out where they lived, and make their lives a nightmare. DH pointed out that there was glass most likely placed across the path to stop cyclists, and the police officer said that they'd get it swept up, but other than that, no further action would be taken.

I'm so angry about this. My gut instinct was to try and go down to the site and appeal to the Mums of these kids, but DH thinks I'm nuts. I'm not going to, but I'm appalled that these kids are getting away with it. At it's best, the whole situation has really shaken DD up, but at its worst, it could have been terrible. DH is 6ft 5' and the kids had a tough enough pack mentality to take him on.

What can I do, apart from avoid this track like the plague?

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:47:53

Gruffalo, sorry - perhaps it's best that you do hide this. It's not meant to cause you any offence at all. Really it isn't. But I've been hurt by DD being so shaken by this and want to do something.

amessagetoyouYoni Mon 22-Apr-13 12:48:38

Also, stop talking about 'a traveller'...would you say 'a black' or 'a Jew'.

Honestly - its 2013.

quoteunquote Mon 22-Apr-13 12:49:58

relentless persistance,

Be calm, state the facts,

This happened,

the police response is was this,

What should happen,

what is their policy on dealing with the situation,

When do they intend for the area to be made safe?

Why are they unable for the situation to be made safe?

Do they intend to tackle the problem, has there been any other incidents?

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 12:50:25

They are travellers so why not talk about 'travellers'?

They call themselves travellers so why shouldn't the OP?

And why is my spellcheck telling me I'm spelling travellers wrong?

LST Mon 22-Apr-13 12:50:26

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For those that disbelieve the officers statement I recently had about £20,000 worth of jewellery stolen and the investigating officer as good as said well there is the gypsy camp down the road.... shock

manicinsomniac Mon 22-Apr-13 12:51:21

I think you're right to take it further but just be a bit careful - your OP says that the police said the children were 'most likely' from the traveller site. So they may not have been, they could have been a gang of unpleasant children from anywhere. I would be cautious of assuming the children were travellers in your complaints but would just stress that your child has been intimidated and physically injured by local children up to twice her age and you arent' happy with it just being dismissed.

If you went to the papers etc complaining about travellers when you have no proof that they were you will end up looking like a bigot.

Footface Mon 22-Apr-13 12:51:25

Where about are you op?

The glass was obviously put there to cause this. You should name the area to stop it happening to others.

amessagetoyouYoni Mon 22-Apr-13 12:51:52

Know many people from the Travelling Community, do you?

If you cannot see how revolting some of the attitudes on this thread are - shame on you, too.

Reported this thread.

LST Mon 22-Apr-13 12:53:06

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LST Mon 22-Apr-13 12:54:04

and yes I know plenty.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:55:11

Genuine apologies amessagetoyouYoni.
I'm raging for DD and didn't consider the title. No 'shame on you' though, thanks.
FWIW, I've never come across Traveller Communities and have had no prejudices or negative thoughts until now.

I'll get title re-worded. Clearly, the whole subject is divisive though. I just want a course of action, and I'll follow that course.

EldritchCleavage Mon 22-Apr-13 12:56:27

The OP has not said that the people she has only described as 'a group of youngsters' actually were travellers has she? Only that the police officer claimed they were, and on that basis declined to take any action.

That's the basis of her complaint, and it seems a reasonable one. The officer should not be stereotyping and scapegoating kids he hasn't even investigated, nor refusing to take action on a can't be arsed/daren't basis.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 12:57:27

I live in Swansea. The cycle track is the one that runs from East Swansea valley to the city centre, past the Liberty Stadium where the Swans play. There is a track number, I'll google it now.

Glass was placed just outside of a fairly industrious area called Llansamlet.

OrlaKiely Mon 22-Apr-13 12:58:00

What are you supposed to say instead of traveller? Genuine question.

I totally believe this fwiw. We had a household appliance stolen from by our front door - a very large one - and the police said they knew who it was, (people from the site) but by now it would have been sold for scrap so they weren't going to do anything.

I didn't pursue it at the time but now it makes perfect sense.

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Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 12:58:50

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CelticPixie Mon 22-Apr-13 12:59:34

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WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 13:01:04

Well for the last 18 years I've had the misfortune to come across travellers camping their vans illegally on the football pitch in my local park. As soon as they're evicted, they'll spring up at the nature reserve and (I kid you not) the local graveyard.

Add to that, the mess and misery this illegal activity causes (not to mention the local supermarket having to draft in extra security guards due to the rise in shoplifting) and I'd say it's no wonder they're not welcome here.

If anyone thinks descending on communities and acting illegally is ok, I'll think you're bonkers.

HexBramble Mon 22-Apr-13 13:02:09

Not East! It's North of the coast.
Just checked on the National Cycle Route network - the track is huge and runs all the way from a town called Ystylafera to the coast. I think it's route no. 46.

WorraLiberty Mon 22-Apr-13 13:02:56

Oh and then there's the dog fighting and ripping off of vulnerable people in my area, for thousands of pounds.

Dahlen Mon 22-Apr-13 13:06:31

Travellers are not a homogenous group anymore than users of MN are. Although a similar lifestyle is shared, there is huge variation among the travelling community, just as there are in settled communities.

Unfortunately, it only takes a small minority of hardcore anti-social criminals to spoil things for everyone. Twas always thus in any community.

TheDeadlyDonkey Mon 22-Apr-13 13:07:21

I totally believe this.
At the moment, there are travellers parked illegally at an industrial estate nearby, as they do every year. The police and council refuse to do a thing about it (as happens every year), there are no public loos, so they use the hedges around the car park.
The clean up every year after they've been is over £1 million.

Another local town has travellers staying every year (I think both are en route to Appelby). For the month that they stay, crime (usually fairly non-existent) goes up to stupid levels. Anything that isn't locked away disappears. Although police presence is overwhelming during that month, they don't get involved confused

manicinsomniac Mon 22-Apr-13 13:08:26

Hmmm, I've actively taught my children to say traveller, I thought it was correct confused. If they say gypsy then I tell them off (unless the person they were referring to was Romany I guess but I've never met any that were).

Reagrdless, I think that most people (including most travellers) are lovely people but this group of boys, whoever they were, are clearly not being brought up to be lovely and need dealing with!

Callisto Mon 22-Apr-13 13:08:28

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