Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Gang of youths caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to buses
Up to 20 youths – some as young as 12 – have been arrested up to 50 times by police.
The gang caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to buses in Brighton and Hove.
Sussex Police yesterday (March 19) confirmed it had arrested youths 52 times following damage caused to buses over the past six months.
Damage included smashed windows, punched holes in the ceiling, names scrawled across seats, broken emergency cords and more.
The gang, made up of both girls and boys and their ages range from 12 to 19, also placed traffic cones in Lewes Road so cars were forced to swerve.
Not all have been charged but on Monday, the first that were – including 15-year-old girls – appeared at court.
At Brighton Magistrates’ Court Rebecca Vaughan,18, a student from Meadowview, Brighton, and Daniel Ronan, 19, unemployed of Fitzherbert Drive, Brighton, were charged with causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to a Brighton and Hove City bus in January.
They were given an eight week suspended sentence and ordered to pay £200 compensation and £50 costs. Ronan also received 120 hours of unpaid work and Vaughan a 12 month community order part of which will address her alcohol problem along with a 12 week curfew between 7pm and 5am.
Identifying ring leaders
Three 15-year-old girls who also pleaded guilty for their part in damaging the bus were ordered by the court to pay £200 each in compensation plus costs and all three were given Youth Referral Orders.
Sergeant Dave Bennett, from Brighton Neighbourhood Police Team said: "At times there has been as many as 15 to 30 youths causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to many of the city centre buses.
"Other incidents have involved fighting, robbery, theft, racist abuse and assault.
"We decided that the best way to tackle the problem was to work closely with our partner agencies and share information in order to try and identify the main ring leaders of the gang.
"Pictures of individuals were circulated to bus drivers who then banned them from getting on buses, restraining orders were put in place and applications to the council for anti-social behaviour orders for one of the gang have been applied for with another two being prepared.
"With essential input from different agencies, enough information was then gathered to charge several of the gang with causing over £9,000 worth of damage to a Brighton and Hove City bus in January.
Roger French, managing director Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company said: "This is a great example of partners coming together and sharing expertise for the benefit of all.
Criminal damage to our buses has reduced considerably since Op Blower was started and the youths caught and brought to justice.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Brighton and Hove braces itself for another week of bin strikes as rubbish piles up
- Number of A&E patients in Sussex is rising
- Chichester toddler savaged by dog
- Tributes to Crawley child killed by mirror
- Cyclists flout pavement ban just days after police crackdown on Brighton seafront