Machete-wielding teenagers terrorise Leeds student areas
The police are yet to make any arrests
Gangs of machete-wielding teenagers have reportedly been terrorising residents in the main student areas of Leeds this weekend.
Houses have been broken into, joggers have been kicked, knives have been pulled and phones have been stolen.
As it stands, the police are yet to confirm whether they have made any arrests, but one Leeds student has written a letter to local politicians calling for a greater police presence in Hyde Park, Burley and the surrounding area.
The Leeds Tab spoke to various students about their encounters with the teenage gang(s).
At 9pm on Saturday night, Ollie was in asleep in bed.
He woke up suddenly to see two teenagers in his room, later realising that they’d broken into his house through his backdoor.
When he awoke, they ran out the room before one returned with a “machete”, threatening Ollie and stealing his phone.
Ollie said: “I had no idea what the fuck was going on and next thing I knew, I had a knife at my throat.”
When asked how the experience had made him feel, Ollie said: “Traumatised, unsafe in my community and also in my own home.”
He’s now seeking therapy and has taken time of university.
Leeds Uni student Serena Waters was running with a group of friends on the canal on Sunday at around 4pm. The group had split off from one another, leaving Serena isolated at the back.
“A group of three young lads basically were walking down the canal tryna intimidate everyone,” Serena told The Leeds Tab.
They had a “fat knife” and kicked Serena’s friend in the shins. Serena said: “One tried to snatch my phone but I kinda snatched it away and ran past.”
While Serena wasn’t intimidated at the time, the incident has left its mark. Serena said: “It is obvs unsettling to know there’s kids running about with knives and [I’m definitely] gonna be avoiding the canal now.”
Hugo MacFayden also had the misfortune of bumping into a group of boys on the canal at around 4.30pm on Sunday.
He and a friend were sat on a bench when three boys approached them demanding they gave them their tobacco.
Hugo said: “I ask them how old they are and then one of them pulls out a machete out from his trackies, it must’ve gone past his knee.”
At around 3pm on Sunday, Oscar Bellerby and his girlfriend were in approached by a group of eight teenagers.
Oscar said: “They started circling us and were clearly trying to grab our phones and a couple of them were talking about a knife.”
At a similar time, Emily Stainer was running through the park. A group of four or five teenagers attempted to block her path before running along with her and attempting to trip her up.
Emily said: “[It] didn’t seem like they’r actually do anything serious cos there was a lot of people about.”
Beth Land was walking down Broomfield Crescent in Headingley at around 3pm on Friday.
Beth told The Leeds Tab: “There was a group of three of them, the main boy who had the knife and was the most cocky came up and asked for a cig (they had done this to my flat mate the day before and he was with us so he recognised them).”
Beth’s flatmate told them to go away to which they responded by throwing a small, metal object at them and pulling a knife.
Beth and her flatmates walked away while the kids shouted abuse.
Beth told The Leeds Tab: “I suffer quite badly from anxiety around walking by myself and night and have always had really bad paranoia about stuff like that, so the fact it happened at 3pm with two of my guy mates with me has heightened this anxiety tbh and I’m too scared to leave my house.”
One student, who requested to remain anonymous, heard someone shouting outside her house in Woodhouse.
She saw a group of six boys intimidating one girl in the street, having seemingly stolen her headphones.
The witness told The Leeds Tab: “They threw sweets at her and I heard her say she was gonna call the police.”
When they wouldn’t give her headphones back, the witness and her flatmate yelled out the window causing the boys to run off.
When the police eventually came, they informed the resident that there had been three calls about the same kids in the last hour.
Letter sent to MPs and Councillors calling for more police patrols
News of these events prompted Leeds graduate Jake Moran to pen a letter to the local politicians who represent Burley and Hyde Park.
The letter reads: “This group cannot be allowed to continue their spate of crime and it is unacceptable that the residents of Hyde Park and Burley are being made to feel unsafe in their own communities.
“Beyond our student community, there are families and vulnerable citizens who will also be suffering at the hands of this mob.”
The letter calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice and for increased police patrols in the area.
West Yorkshire Police have been contacted for comment.