There are new concerns that youth gangs are attempting to ambush Victoria Police officers by luring them to backstreets with no possible exits, an internal memo reveals.
Following a string of violent attacks in Melbourne’s western suburbs, an internal memo was circulated to members of Victoria's police force outlining "30-40 African" gang members' failed plans to lure officers into a laneway, The Herald Sun reports.
“Police saw a group of Africans who were being very hostile... as the vehicle approached Destiny Lane, a group of 30-40 Africans ran towards Destiny Lane,’’ the memo reads.
“It’s believed this was a deliberate ploy to lure police into the laneway, with no escape or exit paths unless they drove through [a] group of people … [where they could be] easily surrounded.’’
The memo comes amid fears two gangs mostly made up of African youths may have formed an alliance.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, police were called to a Werribee address in the city's west where they faced an onslaught of flying rocks and were forced to withdraw and seek backup.
When the drama cleared, a trail of destruction remained, with a severely battered Airbnb rental house at the heart of the damage.
Pepper spray residue, blood splatter, graffiti and broken glass were left in the three-bedroom property, while some walls had holes kicked in them.
Terrified neighbours cowered in their homes at the height of the violence, trying to avoid the gangs, who used poles to smash car windows and tried to kick down doors.
While much of the focus has been on Melbourne’s growing Apex gang, evidence has now shown a new gang that goes by the name "Menace to Society" is also linked to the Airbnb trashing.
Police found graffiti tags among the damage left behind, reading both Apex and MTS, sparking fears the two gang may have joined forces.
Neighbour, Chantelle, said the youths were wearing basketball jerseys and police were clearly outnumbered.
"As soon as they started throwing rocks at the police they thought they could do anything and it started getting worse," she said.
"They treat it as a game.
"They knew there were issues the night before; why would they only send two police officers to start with?"
No arrests were made.
An Airbnb spokesperson told Yahoo7 News that they have "zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour".
"We have permanently banned these individuals from our platform and are fully supporting our host," they said in a statement.
"Our team has also reached out to local law enforcement to offer our assistance with their investigation. We hope justice is served quickly. To date, there have been over 260 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings worldwide and negative incidents like this are incredibly rare."
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.