UPDATED STORY by Maisie Lawton
Four youths have been arrested following a series of street robberies in the Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse areas over the weekend.
An investigation was launched by officers from Leeds District Crime team into more than 20 offences, including robberies, attempted robberies and theft.
A statement by West Yorkshire Police said the four males – two aged 14 and two aged 13 and 15 – remained in custody while enquiries continued into the offences that mainly occurred between Friday and Sunday.
Stolen items have been recovered during address searches by officers.
Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team have been operating increased patrols in the affected areas to reassure residents, in particular the student community.
Inspector Andy Loftus, who heads the Leeds North West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We recognise the understandable concern that this sudden spate of incidents will have caused in the community and we have been working closely with our detective colleagues who moved swiftly to identify and arrest these suspects.
“We don’t expect to see any continuation of these incidents as a result of the action taken but we will be maintaining increased patrols of the affected areas to reassure residents and deter any further incidents.”
The arrests follow a spate of reports on social media about a gang of children aged 11-16 threatening people and breaking into properties in the Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse areas of Leeds.
The reports prompted one student to write to local MPs and councillors calling for action to be taken to protect residents.
University of Leeds student Jake Moran, 21, said: “There has been a dramatic increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in our community. I feel it is the duty of those of us who live here to protect our families, elderly people, and vulnerable citizens.
“It is my hope that by contacting our representatives and thereby drawing attention to this issue that something will be done”.
The Leeds University Union Abuse Awareness Society reached out online to give information on who people can contact if they’ve been mugged or assaulted.
In a post, they said: “I want to make it absolutely clear that any sort of assault or threat of assault is valid and should be reported. No matter the age of the assailant or the presence (or lack of) weapons.”
They also advised people to contact Victim Support West Yorkshire on 0300 303 1974, a charity that supports victims of crime, whether choosing to report to the police or just trying to come to terms with their experience. The service is entirely confidential.
They said: “If you want to report to the police, phone 999 if it is immediately after the crime or you or another person is currently in danger. If it is after and you are safe now, call 101 to report the crime”.