GANGS of youths on motorbikes that are “running riot and getting away with it” have sparked outrage among Southampton residents.

People living in the north of the city have told how they feel fed up with motorbikes tearing along pathways.

Fearful for their safety, they have described how youths are often seen speeding through Lordswood and the surrounding areas.

However, many say the council and police are not doing enough to combat the issue and are demanding action to protect their neighbourhoods.

Daily Echo: A photo of three teens who were seen riding through Lordswood woods in April 2020.

One woman who wanted to remain unnamed for the fear of being targeted for speaking out, told the Daily Echo: “When we bought our first home here ten-years-ago it was with the dream of lovely walks with future children in a safe open space.

“What we have now is revving engines, the repugnant smell of petrol or worse, burning vehicles.

“Our children scream and cower in their own garden because so many times in their short lives they’ve witnessed bikes tearing towards them and I’ve had to pull them out of harms way in the woods behind us.

"My eldest has to wear ear defenders in our back garden to not have a panic attack the moment she hears the roar of yet another - probably stolen - bike/quad.

Daily Echo: Motorcyclists in Lordswood, Southampton

“These cretins gather on the green spaces and tear up the grass whilst looking in at various properties.

"If you look out your window they make throat slitting motions and laugh. If you want to know how these thieving yobs make residents feel, it’s simple.

"It’s anxiety inducing hell. You wait to be their next target or hear they’ve hurt someone innocently walking on a path.”

Meanwhile, a man from Sandpiper Road, who again wanted to remain anonymous added: “They are running riot and getting away with it.”

Daily Echo: Motorcyclists in Lordswood, Southampton

The Labour councillor for Coxford, Matt Renyard launched a petition calling on the council to install anti-motorcycle barriers in a bid to stop the gangs.

He has proposed barriers at hotspots in the north of the city to ‘reclaim’ pathways for residents.

However, Jim Morrison a Lordswood-based neighbourhood watch co-ordinator said he would welcome the installation of the anti-motorbike installations but does not think the barriers are the full answer to the issue.

He said: “I fear the cuts have gone too far in our communities, including policing and the situation may now not be recoverable in some areas even if some new inexperienced officers are recruited.”

Daily Echo: Motorcyclists in Lordswood, Southampton

Deputy leader of the council, Jeremy Moulton, reports that the council is working closely with the police.

He said: “The extra police we now have, and are getting, will help, as will the Police and Crime Commissioner’s new ASB fund.

“The council has put in place a £500k fund to tackle anti-social behaviour and this specifically includes an element for physical infrastructure such as barriers to stop motorbikes.

"We have also set aside further £480k for councillors to bid for local infrastructure schemes which can include barriers.

Daily Echo: Motorcyclists in Lordswood, Southampton

"It is very unlikely that a physical solution will solve the problem however, and blocking off paths can mean that cyclists and parents with pushchairs can’t get through.”

Commenting previously, Inspector Sarah Nicholson said: “We know that anti-social behaviour causes misery to local communities which is why we are doing everything we can to tackle this behaviour.

“We are listening to the concerns raised by communities and our officers continue to carry out dedicated patrols as often as possible in the areas that need it the most, including the Lordswood area.

“We are also working with partners to look at ways we can prevent young people from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour and making the decision to go out and cause harm in their neighbourhood.

Daily Echo: Motorcyclists in Lordswood, Southampton

"This includes working with secondary schools, youth services and the community safety team to help divert young people away from crime and reduce incidents.

“We often hear that there is little point in reporting anti-social behaviour as the police will be far too busy.

"That is not the case. Every report of anti-social behaviour is assessed to identify instances and areas where we need to focus our resources.

"For this reason, we continue to urge people to report incidents to us when they take place. People can do this by calling 101 or by reporting online.”