Gang culture in Leyland has come under the spotlight after a catalogue of serious incidents in the town – including an air-rifle shooting.
And shocking new images, which the Guardian has chosen not to publish, have revealed baby-faced youngsters from the area posing with their hands shaped liked guns and bandanas covering their faces.
The pictures, posted on social networking sites such as Facebook, give a terrifying insight into the rise in gang culture in Leyland.
In one case last week, graffiti and abusive language was sprawled across primary schools and, in a second, a BB-gun was fired through a school window.
The latest episodes were reported just a week after a taxi driver was fired at by an air rifle close to Worden Park, a terrifying incident that young thugs are believed to have been behind.
Police in the town say they are aware of problems between groups of local youths and say they are working with a number of different organisations in order to tackle the problem.
Sgt Janette Bashall of Leyland Police said: “We are aware of the issue of graffiti in the town centre, although it is unclear whether this is directly linked to different groups of youths.
“However, we are also aware of fall-outs between such groups, which have been highlighted on Facebook.
“As a result of these issues, we are working closely with other agencies to tackle these problems, and will seek to gather further evidence which may result in the application of a number of anti- social behaviour orders.”
One local community worker, who asked to remain anonymous, has spoken out after the incidents.
He said: “I have seen this as a problem. These kids have nothing to do apart from hang out on the streets, until they get to the age where they can go to the pubs and start socialising.
“They are not so much gangs, they are groups of bored kids. The gang culture doesn’t really kick in until it’s the school holidays or the weekends.”
For the full story, see this week’s Leyland Guardian.