When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Crackdown on web fight plans
POLICE are launching a crackdown after youngsters organised a series of fights through social networking websites.
Patrols have been stepped up and officers are due to visit schools next week to warn young people against planning brawls.
Warning letters have also been sent to parents of 19 youngsters and a further eight people are under investigation for criminal offences in relation to the series of fights.
Incidents have been planned during the summer, all which have been instigated by messages online and some of which have actually taken place.
Sgt Shaun Welsh, of Eastleigh police, said the force had been alerted to a number of planned brawls in Knightwood and Valley Park. He said to combat the problem police issued warnings on social media and given officers extra stop-and-search powers.
As reported by the Daily Echo, a fight involving around 300 young people was narrowly avoided outside Knightwood Leisure centre in Chandler’s Ford after police patrols were stepped up and warnings put out.
It was thought to be a revenge incident for a fight involving two people and 20 onlookers outside the same centre in June, where two 15-year-olds were assaulted.
Days after the second incident at Knightwood Leisure Centre, police were alerted to messages left on a social networking site of another fight being planned, with the leisure centre again mentioned as a possible venue.
Sgt Welsh stressed that the planned fights were nothing to do with schools or area rivalry but were usually personal disputes, possibly involving a girl or an allegation of a stolen bike, which had got “completely out of hand by virtue of social media”.
“There’s certainly no gang issue,” he added.
Sgt Welsh said there was no connection between those |incidents and another at the North Baddesley Recreation Ground last month in which eight young thieves stole six pedal bikes after gathering for a pre-planned fight.
The youths involve were mostly boys aged between 15 and 17 living in the Eastleigh and Valley Park area. Police plan to visit secondary schools in the area when term begins on Monday.
Comments are closed on this article.