Gangs of teenage thugs are forcing children to fight for their own entertainment, a mum has claimed.
One local community group compared the incident to the barbaric behaviour of the ancient world, and said teens had become out of control since lockdown was eased.
Mum Emma Owen revealed her terrified boys, aged 9 and 10, came back to their Ardler home after teens circled them and their friends and refused to let them go until they had battered one another.
The same gang have been blamed for a spate of anti-social behaviour, which also includes abusing shoppers, smashing windows, and tipping over bins.
Emma, 29, said: “The boys were really upset and when I asked them what was wrong they told me that a gang of older boys had forced them to fight with other boys.
“My boys said that there had been about 10 to 15 boys who had made a circle and pulled them inside before forcing them to fight.
“They said the gang was taunting them and demanding they fought. There was nothing my boys could do and they were really upset and scared.”.
“It’s absolutely shocking . Basically they were forcing my kids to do this for their own pleasure.”
“We have had stones and sweets thrown at and in our windows. Older people have been shouted and sworn at and there are regularly fights.”
Meanwhile, the Ardler Environment Group, which plants flowers and carries out other initatives in the area, said they were shocked by recent events.
Graham Cross, chairman, said: “It sounds like a throwback to the 1920s or herculean times to throw people into a circle and expect them to fight.
“I hadn’t heard about this until now but I’m certainly shocked about what has meant to have unfolded.”
Graham, who has lived in Ardler for more than 20 years also said there has been ongoing issues with vandalism – particularly with the flower beds outside the community centre on Turnberry Avenue.
He added: “As far as we are aware it was generally quite quiet during the height of lockdown. In recent weeks we are aware of damage being caused to the flower beds with kids jumping up and down on them.
“I would like to think this is a minority who are doing this but its unclear whether these are youths from Ardler or others coming into the area.”