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Community pulls together after family targeted

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A series of community support measures are being targeted at a Middlesbrough estate which has seen the victimisation of a local family.

It comes as residents in Pallister Park and the wider east Middlesbrough area have demonstrated their support for a Polish family who despite living in the area for eight years have this week had their vehicle damaged and been subject to racist abuse by youths.

A GoFund Me page was launched by fellow residents to help pay for the damage and CCTV. The page aimed to raise £500 but within 24 hours had seen pledges for £1,845 from 111 donors.

In addition Middlesbrough Council has announced an action plan to stamp out the awful behaviour so condemned by residents.

It will start with work to identify the wider group of young people seen in the widely shared footage. Cleveland Police have already arrested one 13-year-old boy.

Warning letters and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) will be issued to those involved as appropriate. Any breach of an ABC can be used in evidence to support an application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

Referrals will also be made to youth services for engagement and focused work with those involved.

Neighbourhood Safety Wardens will monitor the area daily during key times and work will be carried out with the local community around the issues.

Support will also be offered to the family victimised in the incident including looking at CCTV options and assistance from the Victim Care and Advice Service.

All of the Council's work will be carried out alongside partner agencies including Cleveland Police and Thirteen Housing.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, who has personally visited the family affected, said: "After Saturday's shocking events I visited the lovely Polish family who've been victimised by a group of kids - resulting in their car being smashed up.

"No one deserves ongoing abuse and intimidation but especially not a decent, hard-working family like this.

"But East Middlesbrough is a brilliant place and I also met with some of the family's neighbours who quickly raised over £1,800 to help repair the family's car and support them in other ways.

"There is a great spirit there and in the end the good people always win in TS3."

The statement on the community GoFund Me reads: "This lovely family has had their property damage by a gang of youths.

"We as a community don't want them to move and they shouldn't have to move. All this happened because they were speaking their own language on their own property. Please help us raise money to help them get CCTV - anything will help. This family help anyone and have a heart of gold so now please let us help them and return the favour."

A spokeswoman for Thirteen Housing said: "Thirteen's absolute priority is the safety and wellbeing of our customers and of local communities like Pallister Park, and we take reports of anti-social behaviour very seriously. Following this weekend's upsetting incident, we're working closely with partners including Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Council as well as supporting our affected customers."

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police added: "Police were called by a householder from Kimberley Drive at 2.30pm on Saturday, reporting a large group of youths was causing damage to their car and giving racist verbal abuse.

"A 13-year-old boy was arrested, interviewed and released under investigation while inquiries continue. We have arranged for extra patrols in the area and would encourage anyone with information which could assist our investigation to contact Cleveland Police via the 101 number, quoting reference 060445.

"If you have information but don't want to speak to police, please consider contacting independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously online or by phoning them on 0800 555 111."

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