RESIDENTS of three Widnes streets who have been terrorised by a gang of baseball bat-wielding thugs are to set up their own association in an attempt to combat the problem.
The gang, made up of about 10 youths, has been plaguing people on Alexander Drive, Tedder Square and Parbold Court for several months, leaving some afraid to leave their homes at night.
Armed with baseball bats, the yobs have smashed fences and car windows, and hurled abuse at passers-by.
One resident claimed the situation has become so bad that many elderly people simply close their curtains and retreat into their homes by 6pm.
After a resident was admitted to hospital with stress-related illness stemming from the yobs' behaviour, the police took action and arrested some of the alleged culprits.
Residents are hoping this may spell the end of the problems, while also fearing the arrests could lead to retaliation from the gang.
The residents are now forming their own association, to let the youths know that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: 'They've been walking up and down with baseball bats, ripping up fences and shouting in the street, sometimes until 2am.
'We've all contacted the police, but because of the way the streets are, they can just shoot off when they see them coming.
'People have been too afraid to even walk to the shop because it would mean passing them.
'We all keep an eye out for each other and although we're hoping that it will all calm down now, we're still pressing ahead with forming the association in case it starts up again.'
Sergeant Les Dovaston, of Cheshire Constabulary's Community Action Team, said: 'The incidents in Alexander Drive, Tedder Square and Parbold Court are being dealt with by the sector policing team, which is aware of the issues.
'The team is responding to various issues, including incidents of damage, with the arrests of some people.
'We would welcome anyone with any information regarding these incidents to call the community team on 01244 613759 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.'
The residents' association will meet for the first time at 6.30pm next Tuesday at Ditton Community Centre.