Yobs make street like ‘open prison’

Residents and business owners in and around Windsor Avenue in South Shore

Residents and business owners in and around Windsor Avenue in South Shore

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SOUTH Shore residents are threatening to march to their local police station to protest at a plague of anti-social behaviour.

Business owners on Windsor Avenue say they are at the end of their tether with endless drunken violence and chaos which has made their street feel like “an open prison”.

Today they have demanded answers from South Shore police, saying urgent action must be taken.

Grandmother Vicky Cunningham says the final straw came last Sunday when two tenants got into a fight with four youths which resulted in one being beaten unconscious and another being attacked with a metal bar.

She says the constant violence on her doorstep must end.

Vicky, 56, said: “There is going to be lynch mob heading down to the police station if more isn’t done to help us.

“Living here is like being in an open prison. Things that have happened on this street have been like a soap opera, no-one would believe them.

“We’ve had drug raids, violence, arson, animal mistreatment, cars trashed and stolen. Drunken violence and abuse are everyday occurrences.”

According to official police figures, there were 14 violent crimes, 15 incidents of criminal damage, three domestic burglaries and six incidents of vehicle crime in the Waterloo ward in June.

But according to Mrs Cunningham, police are called out to the street on an almost daily basis. A public meeting is scheduled with the police and Blackpool Council next week to tackle the issue of anti-social behaviour in houses of multiple occupancy.

Kathy Ellis, 56, has lived on the street for 17 years, she said: “People don’t want to stay on this street when they see people drinking outside and swearing.

“The whole area is just being ruined.”

Guesthouse owner, Derek Robertson said: “I’ve lost so much trade, this is a prime holiday spot and it just gets ruined.

“The police come when called but there’s no police presence, no deterrent.”

Problems have reached crisis level according to Patrick McPartling, PACT chairman for the area. He said: “Our message is clear, the softly softly approach with the people causing problems on our streets is not working.”

Insp Mary Cowley, geographic inspector for South Shore has agreed to meet with residents next week

She said, “Tackling anti social behaviour is a priority.

“I’m fully aware of the issues on Windsor Avenue and we are carrying out a lot of work in the area and communicating with local residents to try to address them.

“I will meet with local business owners to listen to their concerns and hopefully reassure them we are well aware of the issues and are committed to addressing them.”

Blackpool Council also said they take an “active role” in combating problems caused with anti social tenants.

Coun Fred Jackson, deputy leader said: “We recognise there are issues around this area and residents are understandably upset.

“Our new selective licensing policy will help us combat anti-social behaviour and improve housing conditions, including in Windsor Avenue.

“Whilst we give these tenants opportunities to become valued members of their community, we are not afraid to take action if liberties are pushed.”