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Police move to stop vigilantes patrolling town with baseball bats against 'Bungay mafia'

PUBLISHED: 16:28 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:31 11 February 2020

The police have warned against vigilantism after posts to a local Facebook group suggested townspeople were considering patrolling their town with baseball bats. Photo: Archant

The police have warned against vigilantism after posts to a local Facebook group suggested townspeople were considering patrolling their town with baseball bats. Photo: Archant

Archant

Police have moved quickly to deter vigilantism after social media posts suggested people were considering patrolling their town with baseball bats.

Jeremy Barber, whose mobility car was targeted by vandals on February 5. PHOTO: ArchantJeremy Barber, whose mobility car was targeted by vandals on February 5. PHOTO: Archant

For more than nine months, people living in Bungay have had concerns over anti-social behaviour, amid claims that a group who call themselves the 'Bungay mafia' have been intimidating locals.

A group has been reported loitering, vandalising play equipment, throwing eggs and intimidating residents.

And after the latest spate of damage in the town centre, which saw the lights and wing mirrors damaged on eight cars, a number of now-deleted posts were made to Facebook community pages debating the idea of residents patrolling the town with high visibility jackets and baseball bats to deter further crime.

Liz Casey, Police locality officer, Lowestoft Police Station. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodLiz Casey, Police locality officer, Lowestoft Police Station. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

READ MORE: 'Senseless vandals' leave trail of destruction in town centre

But Suffolk Constabulary police inspector Elizabeth Casey condemned the idea, and said: "My plea to the community is to report incidents to the police."

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Speaking on BBC Radio Suffolk, inspector Casey added: "I absolutely understand people's frustrations, and I am pleased to say we have made some significant progress in relation to some of the incidents.

"I can absolutely understand individuals' frustrations and their concerns, [as] there has been an increase in offences over the last week. There has been car damages in an area where you see very little crime. But if there is a crime in progress or someone is in danger call 999."

READ MORE: Gang of youths calling themselves 'Bungay mafia' are 'intimidating' town

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed two suspects had since been arrested in relation to the vehicle damage, and added that officers from Lowestoft had been increasing their presence in the town.

Sue Collins, town mayor, also condemned any potential vigilantism.

"That is a very dangerous route to go down, we would want to avoid that at all costs," she said.

"The risks to people's wellbeing and safety will not be reduced by this, but exacerbated. But I can understand people's frustrations."

Mrs Collins added she was reluctant to use the term 'Bungay mafia' as it "somehow gives notoriety to small-scale petty behaviour".

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