Family suffer late-night gang attack walking past Abbey

A GANG of youths intimidated and attacked a family as they left a restaurant in St Albans late on Saturday night.

The four family members, two men and two women all in their 50s, were leaving L’Italiana and walking home past Vintry Gardens close to the Abbey, when a group of 15-20 teenagers began mimicking one of the women. The woman laughed it off but was soon hit with a barrage of verbal abuse.

She said: “They were all around us, calling us names and using language I wouldn’t want to repeat. It was like something out of Little Britain, and then one of them lurched forward to punch my husband in the face. Fortunately, the boy tripped and punched him in the shoulder.”

The woman, whose husband was badly bruised, said they then ran from the youths and called the police who arrived promptly but were unable to take any further action because the youths had disappeared.

“They were wearing hoods and it was very dark so we couldn’t describe their faces. The police said they knew who it was and regularly had to move the crowd of teenagers on, but that they always returned.”

The police confirmed they’d been called to an incident and that they had given advice to the injured man about the next steps if they wanted to take the allegations further.

The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “We’re all really shook up by the incident, but there’s no point taking it further as we cannot identify the culprits.

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“I just want people to be aware of that area and also warn the restaurants, because if this is something people encounter in that area, then they might lose customers.”

A Hertfordshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: “One of our three current neighbourhood priorities for the area is to target anti-social behaviour in and around the Abbey.

“In response, officers are conducting high visibility and plain-clothes patrols here on a regular basis, including targeted times.

“So far several youths have been dealt with by the police for anti-social behaviour and minor damage in and around Abbey Orchard.

“This work is ongoing. But we would also encourage anyone with any information about incidents there to contact the St Albans Safer Neighbourhoods Team via the non-emergency number 0845 33 00 222.”