Concerns over violence in Hubberston Leisure Park play areas

Rough play at a Pembrokeshire playground is ‘spinning out of control’ with a new children’s craze called ‘Join the Crew’, it has been claimed.

The game, which has similarities to “British Bulldog”, involves one player attempting to catch others as they run from one designated area to another.

When a child is caught, the abductor uses force to immobilize him, and the children find themselves tackled, held by the head, strangled and beaten.

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This week, parents of children who attend Hubberston Leisure Park near Milford Haven said they feared things were getting out of hand.

“Children are badly hurt there, but we’re afraid it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ as far as most parents are concerned,” commented a concerned parent who asked not to be named.

“We were recently sent a video showing three boys, aged around seven or eight, sitting on top of another little boy, knocking him to the ground and holding him by the neck.

“I know kids will be kids, but when the older kids start hurting the younger ones, it’s a bit too far.

“The throttling is out of control because it could lead to much more serious things, and that’s why we want to nip it in the bud.”

Nine years ago, an eight-year-old girl, Freya James, was killed while playing “British Bulldog” in her school playground. She was knocked to the ground and suffered a ruptured liver.

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The game was later banned by many schools in the UK due to its violent nature, but no legal ban was put in place.

Parents are now urged to closely supervise their children whenever they play ‘Join the Crew’ at Hubberston Recreation Ground to ensure play is conducted safely and children do not suffer serious injuries.

“Like many things, it starts out as a game, but it escalates and spirals out of control,” the worried Hubberston parent added.

“It’s gotten to the point where kids get too hard on each other and kids hurt each other badly. The other day a little boy had scratches all over his face.

“All we ask is that parents speak to their children before they go to the park to warn them of the dangers and also to keep an eye on the children’s behavior when they are in the park.

“Let’s try to suffocate him before he gets too far and someone gets seriously hurt.”

Harold B. McConnell