A gang of up to 30 youths are believed to be behind a huge spate of antisocial behaviour in the city.

Police said the youngsters, who have been arrested more than 50 times for various offences, were thought to be responsible for food fights in restaurants, causing damage to buses, hurling abuse at shopkeepers, shoplifting, fighting, robbery, theft, racist abuse, assault and planting objects in main roads.

Sussex Police, the Community Safety Team, Brighton and Hove Buses, Brighton Crime Reduction Partnership, Family Integrated Team and Antisocial Behaviour Team are now working together to tackle the problems.

They have launched Operation Blower and Inspector Gareth Davies from Sussex Police said antisocial behaviour orders were being discussed as a possibility.

Cautioned Applications have already been put in for Asbos for three members of the gang and representatives from Operation Blower are also meeting with the youths involved regularly to discuss their behaviour.

Five of the youths have now appeared in court for the bus offence which took place in January.

Meanwhile, an 18-year-old Brighton woman has been cautioned and two 14-year-olds have been referred to the Youth Offending Service for planting |traffic cones in London Road, Brighton.

Community order

Student Rebecca Vaughan, 18, from Meadowview, Brighton, and jobless Daniel Ronan, 19, of Fitzherbert Drive, Brighton, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Monday where they admitted causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to the bus.

Both 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.

Three 15-year-old girls who also pleaded guilty for their part in damaging the bus were ordered by the court on Tuesday to pay £200 each in compensation plus costs, and all three were given Youth Referral Orders.

There is no indication Vaughan, Ronan and the youths were linked to any of the other antisocial behaviour which has been going on for six months.

Investigations continue

Referring to this, Inspector Gareth Davies, from the Brighton Neighbourhood Team, said: “It is low level behaviour but continual.

“In isolation their behaviour would seem quite minor but all together it is quite dramatic.

“We know of about ten or 11 key individuals but are under no illusion – there are more.

“There are still investigations pending.”

Sergeant Dave Bennett added: “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.”

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