Concern over bike gangs targeting shoppers in Wolverhampton
Shoppers and pedestrians in a Wolverhampton village are being warned to be on their guard against gangs of youths on bicycles who are deliberately riding at people and intimidating them.
Councillors in Wednesfield say they have received a number of reports from locals about groups of teenagers on bikes who are regularly congregating at Bentley Bridge Retail Park and Ashmore Park shopping parade.
Residents say they have seen repeated incidents of youngsters deliberately cycling at pedestrians and young mothers with children, forcing them to run out of the way in order to avoid being hit.
Councillor Phil Bateman said: “I have had a lot or people contacting me who are very concerned about youths on cycles creating a nuisance at Bentley Bridge and also Ashmore Park shops. And this has raised a lot of concern for the less mobile of us.
“People with disabilities and parents with buggies and pushchairs have all expressed concern about large gangs of youths on cycles doing wheelies and riding dangerously close to pedestrians in crowded areas of the shopping park at Bentley Bridge.
“I have also had a complaint about drug paraphernalia being found in the disabled toilets there.”
Councillor Bateman added that he had been in touch with the management and security team at Bentley Bridge Retail Park to make them aware of the situation.
One shopper, who did not wish to be named, said: “It really is quite scary, as these are large groups of teenage lads. I was out with my young daughter when one youth cycled straight at us. I moved and tried to protect my daughter, who is only four. She ended up falling over trying to move out of the way and suffered cuts and scratches to her knee. It’s terrible behaviour.”
A spokesman for Bentley Bridge Retail Park said: “Our management department is aware of the issue of youths cycling in groups in and around the park.
“We want to reassure our customers that the on-site security presence is working with the local police to try and prevent this from happening. The issue relating to drugs paraphernalia was not known until now and is being looked into. The toilets are checked every two hours so surveillance is high.
“Hopefully, with the action we are taking and schools opening for the new term, these young people will return to being sensible and acting without causing any more concerns for the safety of shoppers and pedestrians.”
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