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14 June 2011, 13:41 | Updated: 14 June 2011, 13:46
Police in Southampton are advising people to be extra vigilant when out and about in Bitterne and Woolston, after a series of robberies.
There have been 20 robberies in the area between May 1 and June 8.
In most cases a group of male youths approach the victim and threaten them with violence or sometimes even a weapon such as a knife or stick. Some have also ended up being assaulted.
Generally the crimes happen in the early afternoon between midday and 3.30pm during the week and during the evening on Friday’s and at the weekend. Most of the victims have been teenagers between 13 and 17 but not all. The robbers usually steal mobiles, cash or bikes.
PC Dan Rainscourt said: “There have been a number of arrests made but we are asking the public to remain vigilant to this kind of crime. The offences have happened in several places locally and we’d advise people to be aware of what is going on around them and not openly have their mobiles or items of value on display where possible.”
“In particular I’d advise teenagers who have often been the victims to walk with friends where possible and especially in the evening. At night I’d also advise people to keep to well lit areas where there are likely
to be other people.
“I would ask parents to give their youngsters suitable advice too.”
“If anyone thinks they know who may be involved in the robberies or where any of the stolen items maybe then I urge them to contact me as soon as possible.”
"I am doing lots of work with my colleagues to make local residents and youngsters aware of the problem including going into schools and colleges to talk about personal safety. I am also pursuing several lines of enquiry to find those responsible and we are carrying our extra patrols in the area."
Anyone with information about any of the crimes is asked to call PC Rainscourt or Sergeant Paul Southam at Bitterne Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.