Hastings and St Leonards: Police set up ‘high visibility’ patrols after residents’ violent crime fears

Police are launching “high visibility targeted patrols” in Hastings and St Leonards following residents’ fears about a series of violent attacks in the area.

Hastings district commander Chief Inspector Sarah Godley announced the move after residents called for extra security measures to be put in place.

She said she understood people’s concerns after three violent crimes in the town last weekend - a stabbing, a robbery, and an elderly couple’s house damaged and car set alight in what detectives believe was a case of mistaken identity.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Chief Inspector Godley said she wanted to assure the community that officers are “actively investigating” the three cases which she does not believe are linked.

A police officer on patrol in Hastings town centre.

She added: “As well as detectives and investigators working on these cases I have directed officers to provide high visibility targeted patrols in the town, and I urge anyone to stop and talk with the officers if they have concerns. While violent crime has reduced in Hastings over the last year we want people to feel and be safe.”

Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart said that like many of her constituents across Hastings and St Leonards she is “deeply concerned” about the recent spate of criminal behaviour.

She added: “I was particularly appalled to learn of the attack that took place on Bohemia Road at the weekend and, whilst it is welcome news that the resulting injuries have not been assessed as life-threatening, my thoughts are with the victim and his family. Perpetrators of such crimes must be pursued with the full weight of the law, and I continue to fully support Sussex Police in their efforts to tackle all criminal behaviour wherever and whenever it is found.”

In the early hours of Sunday morning (November 7), a 42-year-old man suffered stab wounds to his chest and leg near the junction between Bohemia Road and White Rock Road, Hastings. His attackers were described as two white boys, aged about 16 or 17, both about 5ft 7ins tall.

Police arrested a man in Hastings town centre on November 6. He was later charged with possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Shortly before 3.20am on Saturday (November 6), a 52-year-old man who stepped out for some fresh air outside his flat in De Cham Road, St Leonards, was robbed by two men. They repeatedly punched him and stole his cash before making off. Police said it was a “vicious and random attack”. His attackers were described as white, slim, aged about 18, wearing hoodies and joggers.

Just before 1am on Friday (November 5), a house and car were damaged in Augustus Way, St Leonards, in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity. Then at about 11.50pm the same day, two men approached the car, parked directly outside the house, and set it on fire. The elderly occupants of the address were not injured.

People can contact police either online or by calling 101. They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Sussex Police are one of a number of forces piloting a new Home Office-launched app called Street Safe. It allows women to anonymously flag up the areas in public where they feel or have felt unsafe.