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Dating a pagan gang member

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Lisa remembers the moment she knew her life had been overtaken by the gang.

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Her boyfriend of six months had called and asked her for a favour. Half an hour later she was in the kitchen of a small flat in north-west London looking at 2kg of crack cocaine. But you don't get paid. It's the kind of job you just do and shut up. She said that as they worked in silence there were always two boys smoking cannabis, who watched their faces and hands "making sure they didn't fuck up".

Other boys would come and go to make deliveries. The flat had been turned into a "traphouse" and Lisa's then year-old boyfriend, Jerome, led the operation.

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Four years on and Lisa admits this still sounds like the stuff of American crime shows. Last Wednesday the Metropolitan police launched an initiative to crack down on the Dating a pagan gang member of gangs amid a sharp rise in serious youth violence.

Central to the scheme will be an attempt to help young people escape gang life. But Lisa reckons it will be harder than the authorities think to break the hold gangs have across large parts of the capital. From an early age Lisa says she was aware of gang rivalries, realising that people from an estate a few hundred yards away were considered deadly rivals.

But she says it was not until she moved from junior school that she began to be drawn in. You mix with Year 11s and you don't want them to bully you. So what you do is you put up a front. I'm little but I'm also bad.

And you "Dating a pagan gang member" get ratings, respect from your peers. However, it was not until she began a relationship with Jerome — a well-known gang member — that she acquired her "pass". I was in a gang because of my boyfriend. I wanted to get off with a bad boy, it was a thrill. No one can touch me if I'm going out with him.

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