Creative Torbay / News / Thu 17th Nov 2011 The evil gangs of Babbacombe 1931
The evil gangs of Babbacombe
Story from torbayconnected.co.uk which is full of amazing stories about the Bay.....
On February 4, 1931 the Torquay Directory told of a 'gang' that had terrorised the neighbourhood'' of Babbacombe. The newspaper wasn't that clear what the Torquay Gang had been up to, though they did relate one incident where "One resident fell a victim of this malign gang, was subjected to an outrageous attack in the dead of night, while he was in bed, his house was 'stoned', and his front door badly damaged''. Whatever else the gang had been up to, the paper declined to be specific, and used the general term evil activities''. The Police had already been called in and from time to time have captured some of the members''. However, the authorities wanted to prevent the situation from deteriorating further and sent in a plain clothes police officer to scour the streets in search of the evil-doers. The officer selected was a PC Gammon. On Sunday, January 25 he tracked the gang down to Victoria Park Road. According to reports: "He saw the entire gang playing football in the roadway. As he went towards them, one of them suspected his identity and shouted to his comrades 'Look out Policeman!''' It was too late, however, the entire gang, seven in number, were caught red-handed. One of their number was inclined at first to be defiant and he exclaimed Me! All right, we'll see about that''." At Torquay Police Court the whole gang pleaded guilty to playing football in the roadway. The seven young men, who were described as being employed as "caddies and errand boys'', were fined heavily, at around a week's wages each. The Magistrate warned them that they would not get off as lightly next time and promised them that: "We are not going to have Babbacombe turned into a hooligan's preserve." Torquay Police were delighted at their gang-busting operation: "From the Police point of view, it was undoubtedly the most successful round-up since the gang have been in existence." However, their joy was short-lived. It was revealed that, rather than there being a single 'Babbacombe Gang' which had been causing mayhem, there were two rival gangs: The 'Babbacombe Gang' and the 'Plainmoor Gang'. The police had smashed the Plainmoor Gang, leaving their Babbacombe opponents laughing''. Whether "those Babbacombe Lads'', as the Directory called them, went on to further street-football and stone-throwing outrages isn't known
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