Two pairs of ASBO teenagers are the ‘ringleaders’ of gang causing trouble around a centre aimed at keeping wayward youths on the straight and narrow, police said.I'm shocked, shocked, I say...
The so-called ‘Witches of Whitebirk’ Tori Duxbury and Amanda Holt and brothers Paul and David Stafford were given ASBOs in separate cases after terrorising their communities.
But now police say they are leading a group causing trouble around the Accrington Road Community Centre in Blackburn.
The teens are banned from being in public together, but this does not apply to the centre where they are taking a programme aimed at turning their lives around.Well, yes. Obviously. But then you'd expect that the centre would have some way of dealing with them while they're there, and it seems that's not the case:
Meanwhile it emerged that the youths had been sent on a number of diversionary activites, including trips the the cinema and bowling alley, playing in football matches and even going on a canal boat at Eanam Wharf with snacks provided.Spare the rod and spoil the child; the progressives have selective deafness on the first part of that phrase...
Some critics have condemned the trips saying that youths were being ‘rewarded’, but the council said overall the project reduced re-offending.Clearly, it doesn't.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Mark Cruise said: “You only need one rotten apple and when they are all gathered together the problem quadruples.Not that he's critical of the scheme, oh dear me no!
“That is the purpose of the recent ASBOs: to take it out at the top.
“I wouldn’t say the scheme is backfiring, but these activities for young people mean nobody is excluded. That means it becomes a place for young people to congregate, similar to off-licences and shops.
“It only takes Tori, Amanda, Paul and David Stafford coming together for things to escalate.”
Sgt Cruise defended the ‘diversionary activities’ which he said gave disadvantaged children opportunities they would not otherwise get.Opportunities to hang around and make mischief while the authorities wring their hands? I thought they had plenty of those.
But that was rather authoritarian, compared with the utter drivel issued by the council:Question asked and answered, I'd say...
David Fleming, manager of Blackburn with Darwen Council's youth offending team, said: “Diversionary activities are offered to young people who are at risk of, or already engaged in anti social behaviour in order to channel them into positive, rewarding and educational pursuits.Newsflash, David; IT'S NOT WORKING!
“This includes engaging with young people to find positive activities which interest them in an effort to put them on the right track to prevent them offending, causing harm to their communities and damaging their opportunities of gaining employment."
Another resident said: “Having all these like-minded children in one place is a recipe for trouble.
“In these days of austerity is spending such amounts of money taking them out on barges really the answer? ”