Safety reassurance after ‘beheading’ threat made to female army cadets

Crime news
Crime news

MILITARY cadets in South Tyneside have been assured their safety is being taken “very seriously” after two female army cadets were allegedly subjected to violent threats after leaving a Tyneside Territorial Army centre.

The girls were abused by two men in a car in Alexandra Road, Gateshead.

The comments are understood to have been “graphic and nasty”, included a reference to beheading.

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) says it will not introduce a ban on cadets wearing uniform in public – but says members should not feel “forced” to wear uniforms in public.

An ACF spokesperson said: “Army Cadet organisations take the safeguarding and protection of young people very seriously.

“There remains no ban on wearing uniforms in public, but no one should feel forced to do so.

“If they feel more comfortable doing so, cadets and adult volunteers may cover uniforms and military insignia while in a public place, including when travelling to or from their homes and units.  “We are aware of an incident allegedly involving members of the AFC – this is a matter for the police and we cannot comment further.

“Any witnesses are urged to contact the police.”

It is understood the girls were not in uniform at the time of the incident and that the suspects asked them “Are you in the Army?” before issuing the threats.

Northumbria Police said inquiries were continuing to establish exactly what was said to the girls and extra patrols were being carried out in the area.

Gateshead Superintendent Richie Jackson, said: “The men made no attempt to make any physical contact with the girls or get out of the car, and shouted the comments while driving away from the scene.

“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the exact nature of what was said during the incident and we have spoken to the two teenage girls, viewed CCTV footage from the area and have identified the vehicle and inquiries are ongoing to trace the driver.”

The two men are believed to have been driving a silver Vauxhall Zafira at about 9.15pm on January 21.

The driver was described as black or Asian, in his 40s, of plump or muscular build, with a black bushy beard and dark clothes.

His passenger was described as black or Asian, in his 30s, with short hair and stubble.