Thursday, 18 March 2010

Gang fight in Hove park

Saturday 13 March 2010. Parents with toddlers found themselves trapped by a gang fight in a family park in Hove on Saturday afternoon.

A youth was hurt in the fight when two gangs met in a state of high excitement in Stoneham Park. The park is a popular play space for families and children. A parent, who was with children in the toddler section of the park, said she felt trapped by the gang and shouted at them to leave the area where babies were playing.

The parent said that the fight appeared to be prearranged. One gang of around five came from the direction of Aldrington station, and one gang of about thirty mixed male and female youth came from the direction of Portland Road. They initially met in the toddler section of the park. One of the parents said she could hear them discussing who was going to fight whom.

She said: "I told them not to fight there because there were babies there. I shouted "Not in the baby park. Go over there!" There was no way we could move; we couldn't get out of the park. We were just trying to protect the children from seeing what was going on."

The youths moved off a little way, and the fight took place outside the football enclosure in full view of the toddlers and their parents. The fight was brief, because one of the youths punched the other so savagely that he fell to the floor and lay there for some seconds. He was dazed when he struggled to his feet, with blood on his face. The youths then ran off. The hurt boy was having difficulty keeping up and he was helped by some other youths.

One of the parents called the police, who arrived around half an hour later.

Stoneham Park was once the territory of teen delinquents, but has been reclaimed by the local residents association, the Poets Corner Residents Society.

The parent said the incident had made her feel uneasy taking her child to the local park.

Another parent said: "Some say it is 'normal' for teen kids to have fights. But if that's true, can't they do it in a boxing ring instead?"


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