Locals on frontline of UK gang war ‘feel like they’re in US’ with shootings

In a 25-year rivalry, The Burger Bar Boys and the Johnson Crew have gone toe-to-toe, doing whatever is necessary to assert their position as top dog in the area.

The Birmingham turf war spilt into the streets, with innocent victims fearing the possibility of being caught in the crossfire.

With the battle so intense, Ed Stafford looked into the origins of the gang warfare for his Channel 4 documentary 60 Days on the Estate.

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For the programme, which aims to showcase the roughest estates in the Midlands, Ed spoke to a 'livewire' named Jason, who has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the politics that play an integral part in the inner-city estates, reports Birmingham Live.

He revealed that the Lozells area is the border that separates the two gangs.

But despite the horrific crime rate that plagued the streets, the locals remain deeply passionate about remaining in the area.

Local street sweeper Carlos O'Garro, 66, often nicknamed 'The Man of Lozells', said: "From the outside, you hear a lot of bad things about Lozells. I'm not saying bad things don't happen here, but there's a real community feel about the people here."

He continued: "There's a good mixture of people – everyone gets on well; I love it. You have good and bad in every area, but this area always gets a bad reputation – but I don't see more trouble here than anywhere else."

Carlos cleans the street every day, regularly stopping to talk to his fellow community members.

The popular figure beamed: "You've seen me talking to a lot of people; that's how it is down here. I know people talk about this gang and that gang, but I'm here every day, and I feel safe – I feel proud to work here."

However, while Carlos remains positive, others struggle with the harsh reality of life there.

A shop worker wishing to remain anonymous claimed: "There's a lot of HMOs here, a lot of people begging. The litter is a big problem too – and I don't think the council is doing anything to stop it.

"Gang-wise, there's not a problem anymore, but drugs are still a big problem. I've grown up here all my life, but in the past few years, the area has gotten worse."

Ultimately, having spent over 40 years in Lozells, Shamsun Choudhury can't bring herself to leave. But that doesn't mean she hasn't had some scary moments, claiming the area was 'starting to feel like America with all these shootings and stabbings.'

She asserted: "Lozells is great – I love living here.

"My husband always wanted to move, but I would miss what I have here. I've lived here for almost 40 years – my kids are raised here – I know my neighbours, I know everyone on my street, you're not going to get that anywhere else.

"There is crime here, of course, there was a stabbing the other day, but we move past it, and we get on. One thing that annoys me is the litter – we say cleanliness is next to godliness; I'd like to see the area kept cleaner.

"There's a lot of HMOs here too. There are some negatives about Lozells but many more positives – I wouldn’t move."

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