POLICE have hailed an operation to stamp out graffiti and anti-social behaviour at a former crime hotspot as a huge success after an 80 per cent reduction in offences.
Operation Jiltch was launched in June 2007 by officers from the Lyndon and Elmdon Neighbourhood Team and targeted a group called The Lyndon Youth gang who were responsible for a trail of graffiti daubed on fences backing onto residents homes along an alleyway off Barn Lane in Olton.
The seven member gang, all male aged 16, posted themselves on the YouTube internet site in May 2007, bragging about their crime and even demonstrating their graffiti.
Following dawn raids on homes of the gang on June 14 2007, four youths were later charged with criminal damage.
Between July and November 2007, three of the youths from the group were issued with criminal anti-social behaviour orders (CRASBOs) and were banned from Barn Lane and the surrounding area for two years.
In addition, the three were banned from associating with other members of the gang and from using spray paint and graffiti.
Since June 2007, police joined forces with Solihull Council, residents and volunteers from the Christian Renewal Centre in Lode Lane to clean up the area.
The website of the gang was taken off the internet, graffiti has been removed and CCTV cameras, new lighting and a wall top barrier has been installed in the alleyway to deter criminals.
Officers joined with Halfords in Coventry Road, Sheldon, to keep track of aerosol spray paint cans which were being stolen while the Solihull Fusion Project was set up for two nights in Barn Lane Park to give young people in the area an interest in sport.
Spiky Pyrocantha bushes were also planted along the fence area of the alleyway.
Lucy Reid, a 78-year-old resident from Barn Lane, stated her life had changed since the police operation.
She said: "The police and Solihull Council have done a wonderful job. It was terrifying over a year ago with youths congregating outside and then they'd climb on my garage and spray the side of my house."
"Thank goodness it is all gone now and I feel safer and it's nice and peaceful now."