Chelsea Message Board
TWO teenage girls who terrorised families on a housing estate are being “rewarded” with cinema trips and boat rides.
Amanda Holt, 16, and Tori Duxbury, 15, led a gang known to locals as the Whitebirk Witches, who caused misery on the Whitebirk estate in Blackburn, Lancashire.
Duxbury even daubed WBB, standing for Whitebirk #$%$, on her face. The girls would provoke brawls involving up to 30 people and left the elderly too scared to go out after dark.
One taunted neighbour refused to switch on his house lights for fear of attracting their attention.
Holt and Duxbury were given interim Asbos earlier this month and sent on a rehabilitation programme for young offenders, based at a community centre in Blackburn.
There they joined forces with Paul Stafford, 18, and his 16-year-old brother David – known as the Brothers Grim for their own reign of terror in the town’s Shadsworth area. Police were called in repeatedly as the two girls and the brothers became the ringleaders of a mob involved in stone-throwing and intimidation.
Saleem Kapadi, 45, who lives opposite the centre, said: “It’s ridiculous putting troublemakers all in the same place.
“Life is unbearable as they hang around outside at night. It makes us feel a bit unsafe.” The rehabilitation involves “diversionary activities” such as trips to the cinema and bowling alleys, playing in football matches – even going on a canal boat.
Another resident, Ryan Berry, 38, said: “It’s intimidating to go out looking over your shoulder in case one of them hits you.
“As for taking them on jollies to the cinema and bowling alley, that’s daft. They are being rewarded for causing trouble.” Last night police sergeant Mark Cruise defended the programme, which he said gave opportunities to disadvantaged children.
He added: “I wouldn’t say the scheme is backfiring, but it only takes Tori, Amanda, Paul and David Stafford coming together for things to escalate.”
The scheme, which received £600,000-plus this year, is funded by the Youth Justice Board.
A Board spokesman said: “It is a Government grant, given to a local youth offending team to spend on whatever projects are relevant to their area.”
David Fleming, manager of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s youth offending team, said: “Diversionary activities are offered to young people who are at risk of, or already engaged in anti-social behaviour in order to channel them into positive, rewarding and educational pursuits.”
Disgusting Stuff Tezza
For the life of me I fail to see the logic.
Every study bar none has shown that rewarding a behaviour reinforces it.
Never mind boat trips, the only 'trip' these #$%$ need is a brick laden trip to the bottom of `Davy Jones' Locker!
cheers, Bert 'Cuffy' Merris ( at your service )