VIOLENT clashes have erupted on the streets of Southampton between gangs of teenagers claiming to represent rival parts of the city. 

Robberies, knife crime and public order offences have all been linked to the recent conflict.

Police say that combatting the teenagers, who claim to represent SO14 and SO16 postcodes, is now a top priority and they are working 'behind the scenes' to 'disrupt their offending'. 

Special report: 'Postcode wars'

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Officers have already made six arrests in connection with the gangs. 

Daily Echo: Police officers in Shirley Police officers in Shirley (Image: Newsquest)

The SO14 area covers much of the city centre including the Bargate, St Mary's and Northam. 

Millbrook, Redbridge, Lordswood and parts of Shirley fall under the SO16 postcode.

Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy, deputy district commander for Southampton, said: "We are currently dealing with issues arising from a conflict between two groups of young people, predominantly teenage boys, who claim to represent the SO14 and SO16 postcodes.

"We have completed a significant amount of work to identify those involved in both groups. 

"We have made dealing with these groups one of our top district priorities, and our officers have done a lot of work behind the scenes to disrupt their offences and take action.

"I understand this is a worrying development, but rest assured we are working hard to disband these groups, which have no place in Southampton."

While the matter is on the police radar, residents have shared their growing fears about the safety of their children.

Daily Echo: St Mary's Street St Mary's Street (Image: Google maps)

Mum Vicki Stewart, from Shirley, who has a 16-year-old son, told the Echo: "I heard about these postcode wars from my teenage son. 

"It's just awful, and I am so worried about him. 

"I do say to him, 'please let me know where you are', and he's like, 'mum I am going to be fine.' 

"Young people think they're invincible.

"But I am honestly terrified of my son being stabbed. 

"If nothing is done about this now, someone is going to get killed."

A woman from Lordswood, who did not want to be named, said she is worried about her children being exposed to “gang wars” in school.  

The 28-year-old, who has two primary school-age children, said: “I remember this going on back when I was at school, but kids seem much more violent now.  

“I really worry about my own kids growing up around this, I can’t be with them every single second of the day so who knows what they hear at school. 

“I wish the parents or the police would just get it under control before someone’s child gets seriously hurt.” 

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