WHEN a gang of drug-dealing yobs were making life miserable for the residents of Anfield, the police vowed to clean them off the streets.
Looking at all their options, local officers hit the gang with Asbos which despite often being criticised for having little impact have sparked, in just a few months, a massive turn-around.
The ?Townsend Ten? - so nicknamed because Townsend Lane was one of their main haunts ? between them had convictions for drugs, violence, intimidation and links to guns and vicious attacks.
But since they were hit with the two-year Asbos in December, the self-styled ?bad boys? have seen their power on the streets dwindle and a community has come out of fear.
PC Tony Nash, who collected all the evidence and put it before the courts, said: ?This group were violent drug dealers who would hold on to their territory through fear, although their violent acts were mainly directed towards other criminals or rivals.
?They all act like they are some sort of gangster and think they have power and drive flash cars but the reality is they all live at home with their mums.
?They were complicated Asbos to get. Getting an order against an individual is relatively straight forward but when you are proving associations among several people, it is a much more complicated matter.
?The file for each was probably an inch-and-a-half thick.
?The Asbos have been impactive on the public. We still see some association between some of the group but the word we are hearing is that they are now fighting and finger-pointing among themselves.
?And the fact is we simply don?t see them round on the streets anymore. Obviously we can?t be everywhere at once but people tell us they just aren?t hanging around.
?They are quite embarrassed to have an Asbo. They think Asbos are for little kids who kick balls against a wall too much but this shows they are about much more. They are now known as the ?Asbo lot?, which has taken away a lot of their supposed street-cred.?
John Blackburne, 88, volunteer at the Age Concern Active Age Centre, on Townsend Lane, said: ?They had some nice cars rushing up and down the road. The cars would come up with the drugs regularly and you wouldn?t believe how open it was.
?Women pushing prams and kids on bikes would be hanging around and when the car came they would swarm on it. You could always tell who would be waiting for the drugs.
?It was so obvious. The window would pop down, they would pass the stuff out and then go. In broad daylight. They didn?t care who saw them.
?Now we haven?t seen hide nor hair of them since the Asbos came in. more...