Students harrassed by teenagers in Tang Hall

Students experienced abuse by a group of youths in Tang Hall [Photo: Peter Iveson]

Students experienced abuse by a group of youths in Tang Hall [Photo: Peter Iveson]

Students residing in Tang Hall Lane have complained of constant harassment by local teenagers since they moved in at the start of this academic year.

Throughout the year, a small gang of teenagers have attempted to break into residents’ houses, left rubbish in their gardens, and attacked students as they arrived home from campus.

Residents claim that they have not yet reported the gang to the police out of fear of retribution from the teenagers’ families – all of whom live locally. One resident claimed, “I would call the police but I’m worried their dads will come round and mess us up.”

He continued: “Pretty much every night, a group made up of six 13 to 15 year old girls hang outside where we live and try to get into our house. They keep on banging on our door and swearing.”

According to the residents, the group regularly attempt to assault them as they return home: “One night, I was walking home when I heard a group of them approach me. They were completely drunk and one girl tried to jump on my back. I heard them coming so I dodged out the way. She landed on the floor.”

A second year resident, Adam, stated: “If we pop to the supermarket, they come up to us just to abuse us, always looking for an argument. We tried all sorts to get them to stop but they won’t. Our neighbours get it really bad too.”

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of the gang finding out he had spoken to Nouse, has claimed that as the gang “get more familiar”, their attacks become more persistent.

He said: “Their latest game is to try and get into our house.” He continued to say that him and his housemates were apprehensive about “forcibly removing” the gang because they suspected that the girls would go to the police with false accuations against them.

On the night of Halloween, the same resident described how the “five girls who live next door got attacked by one of the kids.” The girls were too scared to call the police, and refused to speak to Nouse as they were worried about the gang retaliating.

The girl gang frequently hangs around with local older boys. A third year student, who also lives in close proximity to the gang, commented: “It’s a bit weird, isn’t it? 21 year old boys with 13 year old girls in their house?”

She continued: “They’re always bragging about how many boys they’ve slept with. One girl told me she slept with five boys and tried to show me pictures of her having sex on her phone.”

Since the incident, the third-year resident has deliberately kept out of the way of the gang. She explained how the gang “wanted to get back at us for ignoring them. One of the girls tried to wee in our garden. Unfortunately she got the wrong garden.”

Ben Humphreys, YUSU Welfare Officer, commented: “Although York is a relatively friendly city, if you do find yourself in conflict with local residents it’s vital you contact the University welfare advisors or, if the situation is extreme, the police.”


  1. This is just the beginning of the problem, the racism suffered by anyone who isn’t white or of British background is just as shocking. These “underclass” people will just breed into further generations of issues if the local authorities does not tackle this seriously. Got abused today even whilst filming when 3 burly adult Chavs had a go at us, clearly they were all drunk and ended up making sexual innuendos to our actress and also racist remarks to a crew member, and this all taking place in the centre of town whilst other people was walking past. The University is fine, but the community has some serious anti-social behaviour issues to tackle before something gets out of hand. Just notice the related post from 2007 when two students actually got stabbed, next time these Chavs will end up killing someone.

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  2. Would I recommend the University to my families and friends? Yes. The quality of education you receive here is unquestionable.
    Would I recommend York as a city to live in to the same people as above? A big NO. I find the ‘friendly attitudes’ of some of the local residents to be so much off the scale that my patience should get a first class honours with distinction on its own. I’m saddened that the University or the local authorities have done so little to address the issue. It’s a time bomb without any visible timer or explosives. We don’t know what’s going to happen, apart from being able to guess that it’s probably going to be horrendous, and the worst thing is, we don’t know when it’s going to go off.

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  3. @yzx So very well put. I can see the excuses given by the university and the local authorities, that they “do not have the capabilities to do anything”. The problem is that this entire issue starts from basic education, looking at the GCSE grades for York is appalling, the nearby Burnholme School around Tang Hall where most of the trouble comes from has a pass grade averaging the 25% region.

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  4. Just to point out, completely pointlessly, that this picture is the side of co-op on Hull Road and not tang hall at all. Lazy photo finding

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  5. Its fascinating how a serious topic like this is getting very little comment and awareness whereas crap like rumours on Tru and Gallery is dominating the pages.

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  6. I think some of the comments on this article are laughable. York is one of the safest cities I’ve ever been to, you should trying living somewhere that really has crime issues.

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  7. Yeah Barry, but there is some crime everywhere and if you are a victim of that crime it doesn’t matter about the stats for your city, it’s still going to prove to be a problem for you individually.

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  8. It’s all about the body language. Anti-social locals are less likely to try anything if you walk straight at them and maintain eye contact, which of course applies generally as well. Having said that, York is relatively safe.

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  9. These are the kind of articles I expect to see written in response to an article on the Daily Mail website, not by apparently intellgent students.

    I think its going a little bit over the top, especially when people start throwing around phrases like, ‘These “underclass” people’. When all that has been actually reported in the article is a few teenagers leaving rubbish in gardens and attempted to jump on the back of a student.

    Also, people are afraid to ring the police in case their dads come round. I am sure if you had ever spoken to their parents they would be perfectly nice people who would try to solve the situation, it is perhaps this out of touch, naive,demonising view that some students have that can lead to issues like this not being resolved.

    Also Burnholme Community College has a pass rate of 45% 5 A*-C Grades at GCSE, not 25% as someone has commented.

    In my experience Tang Hall is a very nice place to live and if you speak to the teenagers and don’t treat them like they are scary sub-humans they will be fine with you.

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  10. Really Barry? York is probably the worst city I’ve lived in. Visited is another issue but actually staying for a specific amount of time in York really exposes its flaws. Being a Londoner and having lived around London both in the Chelsea area and now in the Harrow area as well as in other countries, I haven’t been exposed to anything like York has. For tourists, York is fine, as for living here, I wouldn’t say it is one of the safest cities in the UK. Probably cos I’m a biased southerner…who knows.

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  11. I have never faced any problems whatsoever with locals, but a friend of mine recently told me that he is being regularly harassed (and in some cases even threatened with violence) by local youths because of the colour of his skin. I find that absolutely shocking and extremely difficult to understand – it’s not as if York has faced any problems with ethnic minorities in the first place? But then again one only has to remember who’s one the MEPs for Yorkshire and Humber…

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  12. This is a terribly sensationalist article, if Nouse is going to pretend to be a quality newspaper then it should perhaps stick to reporting the facts.

    What exactly is the point of the two paragraphs talking about girls hanging out with boys older than them and discussing their sex lives? I didn’t realise Nouse was now acting as some kind of moral arbiter. Who cares what the teenagers were talking about, it is no relation to the rest of the article and complete gossip and exposes the prejudices of the writers. Shoddy journalism.

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  13. I cannot believe the snobbery of York uni students… unbelievable…

    I think all of your comments just reflect the ignorance and single mindedness of York university’s target demographic. Have any of you ever actually known anyone that wasn’t middle class?? Do any of you actually understand the complexities of class in Britain??

    Continue living in your middle class bubbles and writing your snobby ignorant comments. The scary thing is, you will be the people in the jobs faced with these problems and none of you have a clue between you…

    Please grow up and try a little empathy before graduating.

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  14. Is it not only Tang hall that has this problem? I live on Heslington Road for 2 years and never had a problem. Theres is a good studenty feel. When choosing a house you are warned that Tang Hall is a bit shoddy anyway, well at least the people I know were.

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  15. 25 Feb ’10 at 12:12 am

    A. Politician

    Official council figures show York’s 5 A*-C rate at GCSE is 73%.
    Hardly the sign of an awful education system.

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  16. some of the comments here are ridiculous, the fact that such a minor story like this even makes news in York shows how little an issue crime is here. i can only assume they are from country bumpkins who point and stare at aeroplanes and have never visited any major cities.

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  17. Actually, York is the University in the top ten in the UK with the largest number of non-independent school attendees. It is technically the most socially inclusive university in the top ten as well for numbers of those in the lowest socio-economic class, so your self-righteous rant about targeted demography doesn’t really stand up.

    Also, Tang Hall is bad. When a friend from home who had been here heard I was going to York, the first thing he said was “avoid Tang Hall”. Since arriving, I have heard countless stories of students in Tang Hall being threatened by their neighbours who say they’ll come round and beat them up. It’s a bad neighbourhood. Open your eyes and get down off your high-horse.

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  18. yzx- try doing an arts degree and then tell us whether the quality of the education is ‘unquestionable’.

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  19. These people are animals. I don’t think that recognising this fact makes someone a middle class snob.

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  20. “Please grow up and try a little empathy before graduating.”

    I think it is you who needs to grow up and realise that being a member of a certain class does not give someone carte blanche to act in a horrible (thuggish, snobbish or whatever) manner.

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  21. Without detracting from what I’m sure has been an awful experience for the students who’ve had to put up with the victimisation from the girl gang, I absolutely agree with the comments about this article sensationalising, and taking a Daily Mail tone…

    As a third year student, having lived in Tang Hall for two years, in the same house, I can honestly say I’ve never had a problem, beyond little boys throwing snowballs and the odd request to buy fags from the shop for the girls hanging round outside. In fact, my neighbours are lovely, the ‘chavs’ I’ve seen are just bored kids being stupid, and if you talk to any York local, they’ll tell you the street I live on was the centre of the bad reputation of Tang Hall, but that things have improved drastically in the last few years.

    Perhaps those students who complain about unfriendly locals might want to try being less student-centric and understanding that the city is overrun with us half the year, and the other half, most of us aren’t here… must be difficult for residents to get to know us when many of us are such an insular group, judging by the above comments. I wonder how many of those displaying such uppity attitudes actually know the names of their non-student neighbours, make an effort to get to know the people living near them, and try and integrate into the community, rather than standing apart from it, looking down their noses at areas with socio-economic deprivation as ‘bad’.

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  22. @dissatisfied
    Perhaps I should have said “at least for the subject I’m studying”, since I’m doing a natural science degree and not an arts one.

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  23. I acknowledge that there must be some difficulties for the locals in understanding and vice versa, but it is hard for me to believe that such argument can justify some of the behaviours of both parties. (including students doing silly things)
    What I meant by ‘unfriendly’ and ‘off the scale’ in my post was actually meant to suggest racism, although I understand that it wasn’t really clear. On several occasions I was shouted at with some racial slur (against my ethnic group and some against other groups). Our neighbours are non-student, but we’re in a good relation, and when it’s necessary, we do help each other.

    I have lived in a city which is only slightly larger than York, and also in a city whose metropolitan population is about 20 million. But I’ve never had any problems related to racism until I came to York. Again I want to emphasise that I’m not generalising the entire community, but I just would like to say that such things regrettably do exist here, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. Maybe I went too ‘off-topic’ with regard to the content of the original article…well, it’s up to the moderator to decide…

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  24. @dissatisfied

    I, for one (and I know there to be many others), am doing an arts degree, and find the teaching to be excellent.

    Regardless, in my experience, York is a very safe city. Crime statistics and the experiences of most people I know back this up.

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  25. Thank god there is some sense being spoken in the comments page.

    What a load of fuss about nothing.

    York is by far and away the safest part of the UK I’ve ever visited, I’ve never once felt threatened or intimidated whilst at university.

    I’d love to see statistics for how many York students are the victims of crime compared to students in Newcastle or Manchester etc

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  26. I for one haven’t encountered anything threatening thus far in York, other than maybe a few angry glances when venturing to a club on a saturday ( and who can blame them? we’re here taking over their clubs half the year).

    That said, comments such as the one made by ‘Realist’ about the ‘triviality’ of being threatened by a group and having someone actually lunge at you, let alone JUMP on you (comical though it sounds when writing it) seem a little misguided. Maybe if I were 6ft tall and well-built then that wouldn’t scare me, but as it is I’m 5ft 4 and not capable of very much self-defence, so would be pretty upset by threats from a ‘gang’ of neighbours, particularly if the threats were constant and so close to my home.

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  27. According to locals Tang Hall & nearby Melrosegate have been less desirable areas of York for many years. It is also unfortuneate for those who have chosen to live in Heworth who have not realised they have to walk through these areas to get to campus. I have heard it said that it does not matter if you have a car (so you do not have to walk so much), but 2 people I know who lived down Tang Hall ended up parking at friends off Hull Road because of interference & damage done to them by gangs of youths.
    I think the accommodation office & student services are letting down 1st years in particular by not giving clearer advice the areas to avoid. Now that there seems to be a surplus of private accommodation available why chose the obviously bad areas of Tang Hall or Melrosegate (which are not even cheaper) when there are so many other better areas available? Well done Nouse for highlighting this longstanding problem.

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  28. Having lived in between Melrosegate and Tang Hall for the past few terms, I can honestly say I’ve had no problems. Yeah, you get stupid kids hanging around, but I’ve never been challenged or yelled at by any of them. Yeah ok the crime rate’s not great, but there is constant police presence, which shows they are aware of the problem, and I’ve never actually experienced anything dreadful. I feel very safe walking home from uni at 9/10pm as I have been doing every night this week.

    This is in contrast to my home town, a supposedly sleepy little village, in which you can’t walk anywhere safely after about 8/9pm and you are constantly yelled at and abused by little chavs.

    York is incredibly safe, and as someone said before, the fact that this story was printed shows how good the crime rate is in order for this story to be so ‘shocking’

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  29. That photo has been taken from Lamel Street…not exactly Tang Hall is it? I know they both have a co-op store but come on!

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  30. I met a student who was “beaten up” in Tang Hall. Apparently this meant that a little Chav threw a snow ball at her!

    Living in Chelsea and Harrow may not be the best preparation for real life but let’s look at the facts.

    Tang Hall has a bed reputation. Probably earned. But does this apply now? First of all where is Tang Hall? Is it just Tang Hall Lane? I checked with some locals and they warned me off Etty and Constantine Avenues (suprisingly both promoted by IG Properties) but said otherwise its not bad nowadays.

    Most of the “problem makers” are little cheaky youths who have to be in bed by 9.00pm. Walk 200m from the shops on Tang Hall lane and you find yourself in suburbs where the houses are worth £200k plus and fewer than half have security alarms.

    Rupert and Charmaine, if you are not street wise and Daddy can pay £75+ per week then avoid Tang Hall by all means. Otherwise, if you are able to talk to the kids on their own terms and want to save on rent don’t be put off!

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  31. Sophie, I think you may have difficulty convincing Claudia Lawrence’s father that “incredibly safe” is an accurate description of the route she took through this area walking from Heworth to campus.

    Realist – please live up to your name – there is lots of accommodation available in areas other than Tang Hall & Melrosegate for less than £75+ per week. Try looking further than the Sinclair Properties website.

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  32. Having come from a very privileged background, I have been disgusted to see what York had to offer us in terms of ‘the people’. Where I come from, people don’t hang around on street corners and spit at others. It has been very difficult for me to adjust to these slums. For example, I was riding on my polo pony through Tang Hall, whistling a jolly good tune, when some louts began to swear at me. Where’s the ruddy respect?

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  33. I live in a house off Tang Hall Lane and as for actual chav encounters, apart from being shouted at a couple of times I haven’t had too much bother, but the problem I think lies more with the feeling that gangs of chavs can create – perhaps I’m paranoid but having to walk right past a gang is something I really dread, especially if I’m on my own – I feel worried specifically because of being a student that I’ll be victimised, which is a sad way for it to be. To the people who say that students should try and empathise with chavs and intergrate within in the community – how exactly? Fine, it is easy enough to get to know neighbours, but quite frankly you don’t live in the real world if you think students can just go up to a group of chavs and try and be welcoming and everything will be just pleasant – there’s a reason that there’s a hatred between chavs and students – they’re both fairly different in their views and ways of life. That said, treating chavs as an “underclass” is only allowing the hatred for students to increase.

    It’s true crime isn’t such an issue in York, but just because there aren’t people being stabbed or attacked very often, doesn’t mean that there isn’t an anti social problem that really needs to be sorted out. It’s easy to wave away problems with statistics but the students in the story (however quite sensational it is) sound like they have had a horrible experience, but apparentely until something very shocking happens, that isn’t enough for anything to be done about it.

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  34. @Laura, I’m slightly concerned about the way you run together the phrases ’empathise with chavs and intergrate within the community’.

    Do you see all the local community as ‘chavs’? Or do you see ’empathising with chavs’ as something necessary to intergration?

    Nobody believes that antisocial behaviour is acceptable, but you have to admit that the majority of these groups of kids are really, genuinely just that- bored, disenfranchised kids. No, you dont have to get to know them, and you’re right that it’s sometimes intimidating- even though I was raised on a council estate in a very grim northern city, I still feel intimidated now and then, but I equally feel intimidated by the rugby club boys on a Wednesday in Ziggys (and to be honest, I know which of the two groups I’d rather encounter)…

    I’d suggest that the discussion on this thread (problems with the news story aside) isn’t about ‘chavs’ or the ‘underclass’, it’s about the rift between students and locals, and students failing to understand that living in the local community will involve meeting that rare breed- locals.

    Students York is doing some sterling work trying to break down these barriers, but there’s much to be done, judging by the attitudes shown here.

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  35. The problem I have with this article is the fact that people thought it was so bad that students were being ‘attacked’, by groups of youths. As back home proclaiming your a student is enough to get yourself beaten up for in some circles. Walking past gangs and being shouted abuse isn’t nice and of course neither is being jumped on. But i have had these things happen to me back home,before i was a student, sometimes i would have to avoid an entire estate just to visit a friend if i was walking there. Granted this is only the second place i have ever lived but it is also the most affluent area i have ever been to. I feel alot safer pretty much anywhere here than most places back home.

    The racist comments although unnacceptable and yea racism probably is a problem here just like everywhere else. But surely this is because when looking at the local communities there isn’t a large amount of ethnic minorities. By the looks of it most of the ethnic groups tend to derive from students. I’m not justifying it but its not that bad I mean its not as if we have a thousand EDL members marching the streets like I have in my hometown, with only a few hundred people against it for that matter. Again I can’t say I know what affiliations our councillors have but my home town now has 3 or 4 councillors if i remember rightly.
    Anyway i’m probably talking bull, but oh well.

    Don x

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  36. This is all a joke, right?

    I haven’t finished reading the comments, but I don’t think I can. Halfway through I see someone trying to justify anti-social behaviour by saying that students don’t integrate with the community. Oh dear. Is this yet another of those instances where it’s the immigrants’ (that’s what most of us are as students in this town) fault for not reaching out to the community, while the people who are comfortable in the community feel no need to do so?

    Maybe it’s just me, but whether someone ever says hello to his/her neighbour does not have any bearing on whether that person should be treated with respect. I thought that’s what we can expect in a liberal society.

    But perhaps Britain isn’t a liberal society. Well, don’t be surprised that you are less and less relevant on the world stage. You aren’t that rich anymore and you can’t even set a good example. Enjoy your dull retirement.

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  37. @Oh dear – Your name makes me feel ashamed, as if you were a long admired guardian of mine who has just caught me lying…and you are disappointed in me and my total worth as a human being… :(

    But! I never said I see all the local community as chavs, I probably just wasn’t very clear – I was referring to a previous comment that said that to stop this problem students need to integrate themselves more within the community, but since the main troublemakers in this instance are generally chavs, it figures that these are the main people that this person was suggesting students needed to “integrate” and empathise with – which, as you can see from my comment, I don’t actually agree with, because it just wouldn’t really work! I agree that these kids really are probably just bored, and a bit fed up with us students types swanning around, it just gets difficult to empathise with them when they do stuff like stealing bikes outside my house and such, so I guess it’s difficult for me not to be slightly bias! But then again, even though I have said they can be intimidating, an easy way to deal with passing gangs of young people in York is to think “wait a second…why should I be scared of you! You’re from York for God’s sakes!” Works pretty well!

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  38. 1 Mar ’10 at 3:40 pm


    This article is pretty trivial. Chavs leaving rubbish in your garden can easily be tackled if you improve your problem solving skills.

    But yes, York IS full of chavs. Just take a trip to town. People are still wearing velour tracksuits. WHO WEARS VELOUR TRACKSUITS ANYMORE?

    I agree that living in York for the past one and a half years has exposed its flaws. For example, rude bus drivers, poor customer service in stores, being ignored when waiting etc. It is pretty simple to assume that these traits are due to incompetence… but if this city was more multicultural there would be less negativity. There really is no excuse for racism in 2010, it’s kind of pre-historic, as if you haven’t completed the core stages of evolution yet… you’re lagging behind in your thinking York.

    But alas, only 1 and a half years until I get out of Yorksh*t.

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  39. I don’t venture out through Tang Hall much, but this changed with a friends 21st.
    In a group of 7 or so fellow rugby lads some 8 year old boys, started having playful banter with us outside the CO-OP all well and good as a laugh, this then got way out of hand when they started pegging stones at us as we walked away down the street, in the end one got me in the back of the head.
    Obviously you take this on the chin (or on the back of the head in my case), the prospect of their elder brother isn’t particularly inviting. But, I was literally dumbfounded that people so young have so little respect.

    Nice article Charlotte :)

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  40. York is an awful uni

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  41. What i don’t understand is that the students can’t understand that when me and my mates are sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus they look down their nose as me and my mates, all of us hard working youths and think they are somehow better than us because of their liberal arts degree etc. Then when we have a laugh at their expense they are all so precious that they start blaming it on anti-social behaviour.

    Perhaps when they finally move into the real world and realise the way forward is through graft, hard work and a stiff upper lip. And not a fantasy life just like their mum and dads life (little do they know how hard their parents actually worked to achieve their lifestyle), and that the world is full of all sorts. Then they wont look down on others and just get on with life.

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  42. 22 Nov ’13 at 3:30 pm

    Not too scared to speak to the police

    We are having problems in our student house with Tang Hall children coming home from Archbishop school on badger hill as well. When I spoke to a local police officer about it, I tried explaining ‘I understand they’re only school children…’ at which point he cut me off and said ‘ Don’t worry, we know they’re horrible little things’. It doesn’t take a middle class person to be above them, they are literally criminal scum who are allowed to get away with anything because of their youth and for fear of retaliation.

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  43. York in general is as uninviting as anywhere I have ever been, no beauty in this city at all, think its something to do with the uneducated, inbred cronies that live in it!!!

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