Posted: 14.09.21 at 16:26 by The Editor
A THURROCK woman who is giving back to the local community through volunteering says she is shocked and angered by the attitude and behaviour of some of the area’s young people after being attacked and verbally abused.
The community-spirited 56-year-old lady from who has been semi-retired for seven years because of ill health after a career in the insurance business, initially bared her soul on social media after a shocking incident in Grays town centre. But the fear of retribution meant she decided to remove her posts and asked Thurrock Nub News if we could tell her story anonymously to focus attention on anti-social behaviour that she beleives is happening on a regular basis.
She is the first to acknowledge that what happened to her is not typical of all - indeed probably the majority - of the borough’s young people, many who she regularly associates with during her volunteer work at the Beehive Resource Centre in Grays and at Hardie Park in Stanford-le-Hope. But she believes there needs to be a reality check, saying: "It's time to stop pretending it isn't happening."
She went on to explain why she feels it important that the issue is brought to the centre of social attention. “I have volunteered with a number of local charities and believe that I am community-spirited. I just want to make a difference” and perhaps in a small way, my telling this story of what happened in a very public place in the middle of a busy shopping day will focus some attention in the right way,” she told Nub News.
She went on to detail what happened to her last weekend.
“I was in Morrisons in Grays, standing by the customer service area and speaking to a member of staff after doing some last minute shopping on Sunday, just before closing time.
“I heard a commotion and saw several young girls being abusive and laughing and generally mucking around. Security asked them to leave. They refused, stating they were waiting for their mates and that their mate had been insulted.
“Only a few weeks ago I had been in the store when there was an incident of children stealing alcohol and running out of the store, abusing staff and security as they did so.
"As happened on Sunday, the children were all girls which is frightening and sickening.
“So, with hindsight perhaps stupidly, I decided to take photographs and video which I planned to post on social media so their parents could be proud. I went into the outer foyer where one of the girls had picked up two bottles of screen wash and was going to try to take it out of the store.
“All of them were laughing giggling- having the time of their lives. But they didn’t like it that I was taking pictures. Eventually moved through the outer doors and so did I. And there they all were - standing there waiting for me to leave. They followed me, shouting abuse and calling me names, verbally attacking my clothing, my shoes, my weight.
“A manager from the store and another young man (possibly a security guard) walked with me. They knew, I was going to get abuse and wanted to protect me.
“It was relentless, there were five of them. Saying how fat I was. I was a c***, a Karen and I was disgusting. As we got closer to my car it escalated a bit. They tried taking my shopping. My temper got me then. I screamed at them to leave my shopping alone and they stepped back a bit, but only a little bit as they tried again.
“All the time they were laughing - and shouting ... obviously a pack mentality had kicked in.
“They decided to video and take photos of me... insulting my face, my expressions.. etc
“One girl did the fingers to eyes and to me.. kind of .. ‘I’m watching you..’ They called me Karen.... called me old (that was the biggest insult. LOL),
They asked me ‘do you know who we are...’
“Then they started to kick my trolley. And that is when I had enough and called 999. The dispatcher was on the line and heard everything. I don’t think I even had to explain what was going on. She heard every word … by then there were more children.. approximately about ten, maybe 12.
“Some older and to be fair they tried to diffuse the situation, asking the younger ones to leave it alone, stating once again I was old (ouch).
“But they wouldn’t. One girl was particularly upset that I had her on video and I was asked to delete it.. no way I thought. I want her parents to see how happy she looked, how pretty she was, laughing as her and her friends were swearing at the staff.
“Eventually the police arrived at the scene and the little darlings all ran away.
“Thank God for the two kind staff members they walked with me to my car. Without them I would have been completely alone standing up to a feral pack. Would they have succeeded in taking my shopping? would they have left me to get in my car and drive away? I don’t think so.
“I made a statement to the police but seriously what can they do? Their hands are tied. As are the members of staff at Morrisons. They have the whole incident on camera but what can they do with the footage. Nothing.
“I felt it was time to try and do something. I strongly believe that everybody that does nothing in the world is just as much to blame as the people that do things wrong.
“It would have been so easy to just walk out the shop and say and do nothing. - but something needs to be done... these children need to realise their behaviour is not acceptable and the big wide world will not tolerate it any longer.
“I was told I wasn't allowed to film anybody under 18 years of age, I wasn’t allowed to do anything and this is why they behave the way they do. There are no repercussions, there are no consequences Well I tried. I tried to do something.
“I would love to be one of the adults standing around one of them, shouting abuse and personal insults. And see how long it took for them to realise it is pure nasty bullying.
“Or to be a room with them and their parents and have them repeat everything they said to me. Or do their parents not care? Are they as bad? Are they just apples from the same tree?
“I have since been contacted and now know that at least one of the girls goes to the Hathaway Academy and I have been given names. But will - or can - they do anything about it either?
“It makes me so angry and so frustrated but unless somebody in authority recognises the problem of these feral children and they – and their parents’ lack of responsibility – will things not just get worse?
“We keep hearing the police and the local council talk about combating anti-social behaviour – but what are they really doing about it that will make a difference?”
Sunday, 6 February - Friends of Grays Beachcombers - meeting at Thurrock Yacht Club, Grays RM17 6JF at 10:30 until 12:00. Foreshore tidy. If yo...