Two teenagers arrested as Newmarket businesses demand police action after 'outbreak of lawlessness'
Two teenagers have been arrested following reports of anti-social behaviour in Newmarket after town businesses demanded police take action.
A 17-year-old girl from the town was arrested last night following reports of an assault on a man involving a gang of youths in The Guineas Shopping Centre on Monday.
The girl was also arrested on suspicion of two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm, failure to comply with a community protection notice, theft from a shop, and possession of Class B drugs.
She was taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Station for questioning and has been released on bail until September 12 pending further enquires.
And a 14-year-old boy, also from the town, was arrested on suspicion of four counts of criminal damage to a building and one count of criminal damage to a vehicle.
He has been released under investigation pending further enquires.
The move comes after the Journal yesterday reported Newmarket businesses were demanding police action to deal with alleged criminal antisocial behaviour by youths in the town.
The Love Newmarket Business Improvement District (BID) and the town’s retailers’ association have called on Newmarket’s MP Matt Hancock to throw his weight behind their calls to Suffolk Police to do something about the teenagers, a number of whom, it is claimed, have been identified and named as well as being caught on CCTV.
Among serious incidents in the past week was an attack on a visiting racegoer who had booked a VIP box for himself and his staff for Friday’s meeting. The owner of the hotel where the man was due to stay said that when the guest returned to the hotel, there was a gang of youths ‘causing havoc’ in the High Street.
“He was beaten up by them for no reason and ended up in hospital with swelling on the brain and said he would never be returning to Newmarket. Part of the attack was by a 14-year-old girl who was the one stamping on his head.
“The police were called but didn’t arrive for over an hour,” he claimed.
The hotel owner said the same gang was out again on Saturday night, tipping over bins and smashing bottles at Unique Night Club in Sun Lane.
“We rang Suffolk police who never came,” he said. “But a Norfolk police officer who was walking his dog on the heath heard the call and he was brilliant. He did speak to the youths but the abuse he got was unbelievable.
“Suffolk Police were parked opposite, in the bus stop, but at no point did they come over to ask if everything was okay or to to help the Norfolk officer.”
Di Robertshaw, chairman of Newmarket Retailers’ Association said members were angry about abusive behaviour and vandalism which was affecting their trade and damaging properties, but the weekend’s violence had taken concerns to a new level.
“This has gone too far and these teenagers are getting away with too much,” she said. “I am afraid someone is going to die before the police do anything about it. It is completely unacceptable.”
The Journal has contacted Suffolk police about the two incidents and an alleged assault in Wellington Street but their spokesman said she was ‘struggling to find an incident log’ for them.
On Monday night the gang, identified by witnesses as the same youths, allegedly assaulted a security guard in The Guineas centre. The Journal has seen photographs of the head wound he received.
Suffolk Police were again called but told the injured man they could not attend as no officers were available. “Enough is enough,” he said. “My family and I have been hurt yet these individuals are allowed to carry on unabated.”
As well as these assaults,in the last week the youths are alleged to have started a fire in a High Street store’s loading bay and on a separate occasion were captured on CCTV throwing stones which smashed into the window of a neighbouring shop.
“One of the youths spotted the CCTV and another one climbed up the drainpipe to turn the camera to face the floor,” said the store manager.
As well as allegations of criminal activity, drivers and shoppers in and around the High Street and The Guineas have told the Journal that they have been intimidated by verbal abuse in the town centre and dangerous cycle riding by teenagers in the multi-story car park.
Newmarket BID manager Graham Philpot said town centre traders and residents were ‘aghast’ at the lack of police action.
“We know who the teenagers behind this outbreak of lawlessness are and the police know who they are and it has gone on long enough.
“Newmarket as a town is about to take a stand and demand positive action now.” said Mr Philpot.
Today Chief Inspector Andy Pursehouse said: “We know the vast majority of young people do not engage in this sort of antisocial behaviour but unfortunately a small minority do and this can cause a negative impact on communities and affect quality of life. As such, tackling it remains a force priority and we have officers and staff working hard to make an impact.
“For those who are unwilling to respect their communities, we will take positive, appropriate action against them.
“We take all reports of criminal activity and antisocial behaviour seriously and would encourage anyone with information to come forward so we can continue to take action against those responsible.”