A Darnall gym has opened its doors on Bonfire Night to reduce firework-related violence.

The Dark Nights initiative invites young people into Syd’s Gym free of charge from 1 November to 6 November, all in an effort to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.

On Bonfire Night itself talks were given by Royal Navy commanders, along with an organised fireworks display.

Syd Khan, owner of Syd’s Gym, has run the initiative for the last couple of years. He is attempting to tackle the ugly scenes that plague the area annually.

On 5 November this year police were attacked whilst on patrol, with lit fireworks thrown at officers trying to address the disorder on Staniforth Road.

Superintendent Delphine Waring said: “Behaviour like this can cause serious injuries and harm, and will not be tolerated.

“Those individuals who engaged in this behaviour last night are in the minority and do not represent the wider community.”

Residents were understandably concerned with the situation. But Syd claims that the severity of this year’s incidents has been blown out of proportion, particularly on social media.

“It’s been going on every year since the 1990s, but since we’ve been doing these community projects it’s calmed down. The new generation are not as involved as the older generation was.

“You might’ve heard of one or two little issues, but trust me it was a drop in the ocean compared to what we’ve had in the past, so it’s a good result.”

Syd also stresses the importance of continuing community work throughout the year to tackle criminal activity at its roots.

“Our community work carries on every day – educating people against knife crime, gang warfare and drugs.”

Knife crime is a particularly pertinent issue in Darnall – a stabbing in High Hazels Park on 6 November has drummed home the importance of tackling this issue.

Syd said: “To stop knife crime is to unite people, let people know who each other are and allow them to become friends, so if someone walks into the wrong area it’s not an indication that they’re trying to start trouble.”

But he admits that his efforts will never fully solve the problem of violent crime in Darnall.

“There will always be troubles in the community. This will never stop.”