'No excuses' for gangs behind 'Wild West' violence in Sheffield

Police at the scene of a shooting in the Spital Hill area of Burngreave
Police at the scene of a shooting in the Spital Hill area of Burngreave
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There can be 'no excuses' made for the rival gangs waging a 'Wild West' style war on Sheffield's streets, a councillor has said.

A man was shot on Wednesday in the Spital Hill area of Burngreave in what is believed to have been a revenge attack for the stabbing of a 17-year-old two days before.

Councillor Jackie Drayton

Councillor Jackie Drayton

Terrified residents have told how they fear another attack is imminent as tensions continue to flare between rival Kurdish and Somalian gangs engaged in a suspected turf battle over drugs.

Today, Burngreave ward councillor Jackie Drayton said a shortage of opportunities for young people could not be used as an excuse for their becoming involved in gangs.

Coun Drayton, who is also cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: "People will say you need more youth activities, and it's true that the Government has cut money for youth services.

"But you can't make excuses. What's happening is not acceptable. It's almost like a Wild West situation.

"There are a lot of volunteer groups doing work with young people but there seems to be a group of young people who aren't interested in getting involved.

"This is about criminality, not disaffected young people, and it needs to be sorted out by people being arrested."

Coun Drayton said many hardworking young people in Burngreave and elsewhere in the city were doing great work 'off their own backs'.

She claimed she still felt safe in the area as the violence appeared to be between rival gangs, but she said when other people are around 'accidents can happen'.

She also told how she had met police, who had assured her they would bring forward the introduction of extra community police officers in Burngreave following this week's clashes.

"They're going to be a visible police presence in the area, which is important. People get brave if they think there's nobody who's going to stop them," she said.

Police have stepped up patrols around the Spital Hill area in the wake of the shooting.

The Star has asked South Yorkshire Police whether there are plans for more community officers in the area in the longer-term, but we have yet to receive a response.

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