Chiswick Police blitz local graffiti gang

Six arrests made as police look to end problems of graffiti and disorder in the Stamford Brook area

Over the past 3 years there have been instances of misbehaviour by youths in the vicinity of Prebend Gardens, Welstead Way, Wilson Walk and Stamford Brook, Chiswick W4. Offences alleged have included harassment, theft, criminal damage and the unlawful possession of drugs. The steps taken by police, in particular the sector team under the direction of Inspector Michael Nicholls, have been very successful and have been appreciated by the local community and Notting Hill Housing Association.

However, during the past week, the Chiswick Community Team had received intelligence that groups of youths were again beginning to target the area and causing much concern to the local community. As a result of this, officers were specifically deployed to the area.

At about 9pm on Tuesday 21st January 2003, police officers saw a group of 12 youths but upon seeing the officers the youths ran off towards Stamford Brook. However, the group were cut off by police, who managed to contain them, long enough for other police officers to join them, including officers from British Transport Police (BTP). During the chase the youths were seen to be disposing of marker pens and cans of spray paint.

The youths continued to act aggressively towards the officers. Six of the youths were arrested for causing criminal damage (graffiti) and possessing articles with intent to cause criminal damage. Furthermore, one of the six was also subsequently arrested for stealing cash from railway ticket machines, his actions having been recorded on CCTV.

All six youths have been bailed to return to the police station on 27th February 2003.

Graffiti in Chiswick is an issue that has and still receives much attention from Chiswick police. Chiswick Sector, the BTP, together with the police and councils from boroughs in south west London are all members of S.W.A.A.G (South West Action Against Graffiti), a group whose purpose is to co-ordinate action, share ideas and encourage positive action against graffiti vandals. As a result of this initiative, BTP are now prepared to finance the cost of matching seized spray paints etc with evidence of graffiti on their premises which will substantially increase our ability to prosecute offenders.

Inspector Nicholls said of the operation, "Amongst those stopped and searched but not arrested were several prominent offenders from the Chiswick/Hammersmith area. These youths have also been involved in robberies and the actions of the above officers will have an impact on how the youths behave and where they operate in the future."

January 24, 2003

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