Labour councillor Gohar Almass said the gangs were intimidating residents by firing the guns in Cross Flatts Park, in Beeston, Leeds, on a “regular” basis. He called for a greater police presence in the park and also urged the public to report all incidents to the 101 non-emergency number.
Speaking at a council-run community committee meeting on Wednesday (Sep 6), Councillor Almass, who represents the Beeston and Holbeck ward, said: “These pellet guns that fire like machine guns – young kids have these guns and they go across parks like Cross Flatts Park firing at people.
“They’re pellets, but if they hit you in the eye it would probably damage your eye. The elderly and young families in the area are feeling really intimidated sometimes. It’s happening very regularly. The parks are there for people, but unfortunately people don’t feel safe at the moment.”
Spread across 44 acres of land, Cross Flatts Park is usually one of South Leeds’ most popular green spaces. But like other sites across the city, the park is also suffering from large numbers of quadbike riders behaving anti-socially, the committee was told.
Councillor Almass said it was important residents reported incidents to the police to ensure more resources are devoted to tackling problems in the area.
His Labour colleague, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, who represents Hunslet and Riverside, said: “We need to tell the public that they must report, because then we get the statistics and the information. Then the police can do something about it and win back the confidence of the public, because there is a lack of confidence at the moment for all sorts of reasons.”