POLICE have launched a crack-down on gangs of children as young as 10 who are making life a misery for people living on a Crewe street.
Families on Alton Street say they have been subjected to verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and swearing by groups of youngsters who are known as the 'Alton Street Amateurs'.
Community Action Team (CAT) officers at Crewe police station are now warning they will get tough on the gang's ringleaders.
PC Helen Rowley said: 'We have been inundated with complaints from residents about swearing, intimidation and even urinating in the street. Some have put their houses up for sale because they have had enough of it.
'There were problems at first with an older group known as the Alton Street Army but they were dealt with by anti-social behaviour orders.
'Now we are seeing more and more problems with this group of kids aged between 10 and 15 years old who congregate in alleyways between Stuart
Street and Queen's Park.
'They have also recently begun to ride motorbikes in an anti-social manner with no helmets at all hours of the day and night. We know who most of the group are and will be speaking to residents to identify the ringleaders.'
It is also believed the gang was behind a mass brawl last month when rival gangs clashed after Sandbach Fair.
Rowdy youths from Crewe and Sand-bach ran riot around the town centre threatening each other with spades and metal bars.
PC Rowley added: 'The Sandbach incident is something which could progress to Crewe.
'The matter has got worse in the last two months. We now have regular patrols around the area and we will be looking to step them up in the coming months to allay residents' fears.'
Borough councillor Joy Bratherton, whose Valley ward covers Alton Street, is backing police in their ef-
forts. She said: 'I have had numerous complaints from residents and have rung the police several times but not heard anything back.
'I know of at least three families who have put their house up for sale and even one family who moved out be-
cause of the problems.
'I would applaud anything the police do but the main problem is getting people to stand up in court against these youngsters because they are scared and there are not enough officers on the beat.'