Women given rape alarms and defence classes after spate of threats

The SESMA self-defence class in Drayton has become very popular

The SESMA self-defence class in Drayton has become very popular - Credit: Wayne Baker

Women living outside Norwich are ready to face down any would-be attackers after arming themselves with self-defence techniques and alarms following a spate of threatening incidents in the village.

Police arrested a teen in late August following reports from several women in the Taverham area that a male was approaching women, making inappropriate comments and indecently exposing himself.

But the arrest wasn't the end of it, with women still feeling terrified that something so serious had happened on their doorstep.

In an attempt to empower local women and help them recover their independence, Taverham and Drayton litter pickers group, run by community leader Stacy Bradley, 35, decided to fund a free self-defence course at SESMA Martial Arts in Drayton.

Women learning how to defend themselves

Women learning how to defend themselves following spate of threatening incidents in the Taverham area in August - Credit: Wayne Baker

The idea behind the defence class was to teach women to be on their guard and help them feel they were always prepared.

Three free sessions were offered to women in the community on August 27, 28 and September 24.

But it became so popular that from now, Ms Bradley will be funding one session a month.

The next one in October is already fully booked — and demand remains "incredibly high".

Women at SESMA Martial Arts class in Drayton

The SESMA Martial Arts class in Drayton has proved extremely popular with local women, with the next class fully booked - Credit: Wayne Baker

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When women arrive at the class, which is run and subsidised by SESMA Martial Arts, women are given a rape alarm and the necessary techniques to ward off thugs lurking in the shadows.

Ms Bradley said: "In August, so many incidents were being reported of a man following women in Taverham and propositioning them.

"It left a lot of women quite shaken up. Usually this place is really safe, and a lot of women would go out walking at night without a second thought.

"This was the stimulus people needed to get involved in self-defence should they need it - god forbid.

Community leader Stacy Bradley

Community leader Stacy Bradley organises the litter pick group, and is behind the funding of the self-defence classes - Credit: Wayne Baker

"I think when it's far away - such as with the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa in London - people are scared, but it doesn't hit home quite so much.

"When it's on your doorstep you can't ignore it."

Women can book slots via: www.sesma.co.uk