LONG-STANDING business owners in the Shirley area of the city are doing their bit to protect people by signing up for Southampton City Council's safe places network.

Under the scheme, any service or business can act as a refuge when someone is feeling unsafe.

It comes as teenagers fight each other claiming to represent the SO14 and SO16 areas.

READ MORE: Violence erupts as teenagers fight over postcodes in 'worrying' skirmishes

Pete Gallagher, the owner of Make It Magic, is just one person to sign up.

He said: "If you look back in history, there will be rival gangs all the time. But I think the reason why it's now become such a big problem is because of the lack of policing in the area.

"But with this problem of postcode wars escalating now, it is important to create safe places and make people aware of it."

Daily Echo: Phil RolfPhil Rolf (Image: Newsquest)

Phil Rolf, the owner of Jim Rolf greengrocers, is also involved in the scheme.

He said: "With the increase in gang activity and with more youngsters carrying knives, it would be advisable for kids to know where they can run to in an emergency."

The councillor responsible for community safety in the city has said the council is 'working closely' with others to tackle the problem.

Daily Echo: Cllr Matt RenyardCllr Matt Renyard

In response to the concerns raised about teenagers battling on the streets, Councillor Matt Renyard, cabinet member for safer city, said: "We are aware of these developments and understand that people living in the area may be concerned.

"Together with our children's, youth offending, and stronger communities teams, we will continue to work closely with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary and schools to help prevent further offending.

“In addition, we have recently awarded more than £350,000 via the Youth Outreach and Engagement stream of our Safer Neighbourhoods Fund, supporting projects and initiatives to divert young people from crime and anti-social behaviour.”

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