GANG culture and targeted violent attacks will get worse if nothing is done, according to a concerned councillor.

Colchester Council’s crime and disorder committee heard fears from Dave Harris (Lab) about recent stabbings and attacks in Berechurch.

A rise in gang activity has also been reported in Stanway and earlier this week The Gazette revealed how Colette Lennon’s 15-year-old son Bernard was targeted at his home on Saturday by a 12-strong group of other teenagers after bullying escalated.

The group arrived at her home in Woden Avenue and intimidated her other ten-year-old son before neighbours rallied round to protect them until she returned from work.

Mr Harris said there was a false perception the police are not doing anything about the incidents, which have left nearby residents shocked.

He said: “People are worried because they seem like targeted attacks.

“There have been stabbings in Blackheath and beatings in the William Harris Way estate and the public perception of this is the police are powerless to do anything about it.

“We need to get it out there the police are doing all they can to stop it.

“In the last three or four years police staff have been cut by two thirds and I worry about that, so what can we do?

“I think we need to involve the community.

“In the past there have been days of action and I think a perfect candidate for that would be Blackheath and the southern areas of Colchester.

“Gang culture concerns me and it looks as if these incidents are gang against gang.

“I am worried if we do nothing this will increase and young people will grow up into gang culture.

“If we are not careful somebody is going to get even more seriously hurt than they have been already.”

Mr Harris said he and fellow ward councillors in Berechurch had set up Neighbourhood Watch groups in the area to help try to tackle the problem and ensure people are looking out for one another.

He said: “We have got to think about putting as much resources as possible into this – doing nothing is not an option.

“I salute the police I speak to on a daily and weekly basis and I know how stretched they are.

“If we can support them as a community we have to try.”

Stanway councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell (Lib Dem) said she feared relationships between the community and police officers had deteriorated in her ward.

She said: “There are people causing a lot of trouble in Stanway and Tollgate.

“We have lost contact with our neighbourhood policing team - the two-way dialogue we used to have has now gone.”