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We're scared stiff

Wednesday, 11th May, 2011

By Gina Wilson

Police patrols will be stepped up in the South following complaints that a wave of violent disorder has enveloped parts of it.

Residents of Hebbard Street said the disgraceful behaviour of some people along the street had caused life to become almost unbearable.

A letter signed by 15 people pleaded for someone to do something to stem the wave of violence, drunken parties, theft and vandalism that had taken hold.

"It is a plea to anybody to just give us our lives back," one resident said.

The spokesman for the group, who did not want to be named for fear of recrimination, said the actions of two lots of residents had made the street virtually unliveable.

"The continuous parties, vile and abusive language, no respect, vandalism, fighting, urine, vomit, yelling and screaming until the late hours of the morning, heavy drinking, deafening music, empty spirit bottles and cans, underage drinking, broken glass and supermarket trolleys left in the street," she said.

"Underwear with human waste tossed over the fence. It's just disgusting."

She said nearby residents feared for their lives.

"There are women who live by themselves, too afraid to walk or look outside," the woman said.

"Party-goers tried to break in three times within two-and-a-half hours. The last time they came back with a hammer and a chisel to smash a bedroom window while I lay in bed.

"It has affected our work and lifestyles because of lack of sleep."
The woman said she was now too scared to call police as not only was their response not having any effect but she feared retaliation, including having her property damaged.

"Mail has been taken from letter boxes and been ripped open and left scattered in the street, residents and family members have been sworn at," she said.

"People are swearing and yelling abusively at children and party-goers at all hours of the day, night or early morning.

"A gate has been kicked off its hinges. A car has been walked over. The side mirror has been smashed on a car where the owners has to pay excess to get it fixed."

Barrier Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg said the allegations were of great concern to police.

"We have a clear policy in place where we identity suspected hot spots of crime which include any public order offences which may interfere with neighbourhoods," DI Stoltenberg said yesterday.

"The area identified within the letter has now been taken into account by local police and there will be an increased level of police pro-activity and patrols in that area."

He also urged other people with similar concerns to call police. 

"If people do have identified problems, don't hesitate to come forward and notify police," Det Insp Stoltenberg said.

"I accept the fact that some people are concerned about retribution from offenders but, as police, we'll act on this and take it under the veil of anonymity if that's what the person wants."

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