Police have been given extra powers to tackle a gang of abusive yobs terrorising a Sheffield estate.
Residents have told about living in a state of fear from a gang of about 20 teenagers congregating near shops in Hartley Brook Road, Shiregreen, who have allegedly been responsible for a shocking string of attacks on members of the public.
Frightened locals told how they have thrown knives at dog walkers and rocks at cars, while a walking group had to disband recently after the yobs called members 'fat' when they walked past.
Amid residents' claims that police have 'lost the streets' to the gang, officers have now been granted a dispersal order from the courts which gives them extra powers to move unruly youths away from areas where they are causing trouble.
Inspector Chris Lewis, of the Sheffield North East Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Despite a significant police presence the youths responsible have continued to disrupt the community, committing offences, damaging cars and intimidating customers at local shops while running away from police community support officers along the many alleyways and fields when they are approached.
"I have authorised a dispersal order under section 34 of the anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. This legislation will authorise my officers to direct people to leave the area. Failure to do so will be an offence. If the person concerned is under 16, officers can remove them and take them home."
He said the order has been introduced following the most recent spate of attacks on Sunday, October 15, in which a number of stones were thrown at vehicles.
Residents have now taken to Facebook to give details about their personal experiences dealing with the gang.
Debbie Flynn said: "I was in a taxi passing Hartley Brook shops when we were bombarded with stones. They were on bikes with their faces covered. It terrified me."
Wayne Billard added: "There is constant damage to cars and property even when police are present.
"The police have lost control. I saw them all circling two police cars on bikes with scarfs around faces."
Lee Robinson said: "It’s only a matter of time before residents and motorists will start taking matters into their own hands."
Insp Lewis called on the public's help to put an end to the incidents.
He said: "Many of the incidents that have been reported are being investigated by an officer within my team, but as yet they are struggling to find the necessary evidence to prove who is responsible.
"I would ask that if anyone has any evidence relating to the ongoing issues or is able to identify any of those responsible they report the matter via 101."