ANGRY residents claim metal thieves have “ripped the heart out of their community” after stealing from their properties, sometimes while they were inside.
Homeowners on Ashton Road, Blackpool, have been left with a huge repair bill after raiders targeted their street.
Lead flashing, copper piping and television aerials have been ripped from at least a dozen houses on the street – even when residents were at home.
The latest incidents this month, include the theft of eight feet of lead flashing from the roof of a kitchen extension and two metres from another property’s flat roof.
Frustrated residents are now campaigning for alley gates they hope will prevent thieves from accessing their homes.
Mike Stec, 56, had his lead flashing ripped out over the weekend.
He said: “It’s absolutely brazen, they must be desperate to steal from people’s homes, especially to do it while they are in.
“I didn’t hear them on our roof but our neighbours have heard them and a couple of people have managed to disturb them while they’re at it.
“Some of the residents are quite elderly, in their 80s and they’re too scared to report the thefts to the police in case the thieves come back.
“The infuriating thing is for years we’ve asked the council if we can have alley gates down the back of our road but we keep getting turned down.”
Resident Phil Crookall, who had his TV aerials stolen, said: “They pulled all my aerials out so I had to feed my Sky cables through the window.
“We need gates up, it is getting so bad, crack pots, thieves and fly tippers are ruining the alley but they go there because everywhere else has alley gates.
“It has become a health and safety hazard because not only are they thieving they’re dumping mattresses and needles - we have had several fires down there.”
Bloomfield ward councillor Mary Smith, described the situation as “disgusting”.
She said: “They’re stealing anything they can get there hands on - it is disgraceful.
“It is not just the financial loss it is the fear factor, residents have caught people peering over the wall or even on the roof, it is frightening.
“If anyone spots anything suspicious immediately report it to the police
“I am more than happy to speak to residents regarding alley gates, they would help, if residents need them I will strive to get them.”