FRUSTRATED Southampton residents have branded Millbrook a 'no-go' area as crime in the area continues to spike.

Vans across the Millbrook, Redbridge, Lordswood and Coxford area of the city have been targeted by gangs of moped riding youths. Coxford Road, Taranto Road, Dunvegan Drive and Sandpiper Road are all said have been hit.

Now, local councillors are calling on the police to up patrols and presence in the area after they announced a spike in thefts in the last week.

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But residents claim that the problems have been going on for much longer.

A Millbrook mum, who has asked to remain anonymous, has said that people are "fed up" with the crime in the area, and that some parts are becoming"no-go" areas.

She said: "My daughter's partner's had his van broken into and tools stolen.

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"People are being emailed the [crime] reference number and are being told that the case is closed.

"Police are saying they want to up patrols, and that's fine, but these crimes are happening between 1am and 4am.

"People are taking tools out of vans but these mindless idiots are still ripping doors off with their fingers and tools to see what's in there.

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"People are fed up. These boys are shooting birds with slingshots and pellet guns, riding their motorbikes up and down the road doing wheelies, they are stopping children from playing in the local parks.

"There is not enough police presence, the local police and council have done nothing."

She added that following the spate of van break-ins she contacted Millbrook ward councillor Steven Galton, who has since written a letter to the local police inspector.

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He said: "These are loathsome crimes. So many of the vans targeted belong to small businesses or sole traders. Given the pressures Covid-19 has caused, the timing couldn’t be worse for people or businesses.

"Our local communities are rightly up in arms about this , especially in the Millbrook and Lordswood areas; but there seems to be a pattern of these types of crimes in adjoining areas outside of Southampton as well.

"The police are aware and are putting more resources and efforts in to preventing and solving this."

Ward councillor for Coxford, Matthew Renyard, held a virtual meeting regarding crime in his area a few weeks ago along with Alan Whitehead MP, Cllr Dave Shields and police team led by Inspection Nicholson.

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He said: "We in the city feel that it is of increasing importance that we get our fair number of police compared to the rest of those allocated within Hampshire, to which all three of us have written to the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

"The degree of cuts over the last 10 years under the guise of austerity to our police force has had a hugely detrimental effect on the police's ability to cope with these types of criminal activity.

"This kind of crime undermines people's ability to work, at a time of national crisis, as well as the sense of safety to a local community. We need more police in the area to effectively fight this type of opportunistic and anti-social crime."

A spokesperson from Hampshire Police said that officers will be carrying out additional patrols in the area.

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He added: "We have increased patrols in the areas of Coxford, Redbridge, Lordshill, Millbrook and Shirley to reduce this crime and tackle offenders.

"Each report we receive, both over the phone and online, is reviewed for any available lines of enquiry. Unfortunately, these are sometimes not available, and in these instances a case may be filed pending further information.

"However, the local teams review crimes being reported in their area and this helps them to build up an intelligence picture of what is going on in particular locations and ensure resources are targeted effectively.

"It is really important that all incidents, even those where there may be limited lines of enquiry, are reported to us, so officers can build up this picture of what is happening in your area.