NEIGHBOURS have spoken out about their fears after a pensioner appeared in court for keeping a stun gun by his bedside because he was terrified by the behaviour of local yobs.
Blackpool magistrates were told 76-year-old George Jones was scared youngsters would break into his home, attack him or steal from him.
He was found guilty of possessing a Taser, after police found the weapon by his bedside following a tip off.
But neighbours today told The Gazette they could understand the pensioner’s worries, saying their lives were also blighted by anti-social behaviour.
Yvette Horrorbin, 35, lives in the same block of flats as Mr Jones, with partner Brendan Roberts, 34, and their three young daughters.
She said: “I can sympathise with him. There have been a lot of problems around here. I wouldn’t blame somebody keeping something under their pillow.”
Mr Jones admitted possessing the weapon, which could discharge electric charges, telling the court he had no idea it was illegal.
Jones was given a six-month conditional discharge by presiding magistrate Anne Smith who told him: “We accept the weapon could not be fired and you are an elderly man, living in fear and subjected to anti social behaviour by youths.”
An elderly neighbour, who wished not to be named, said Mr Jones had shown her the weapon after being intimidated by youths.
She added: “He showed me this thing, it was yellow and looked like a staple gun.”
She told how others in the flats had had doors kicked in by yobs.
She added: “They’d hammer on your door, sit outside smoking drugs or shoot things at your window.
“It was just turmoil.”
Residents in the flats said police used to visit their block on a weekly basis answering calls about a raft of problems.
Ms Horrorbin added: “We weren’t able to go out of the flat.
“Elderly and vulnerable neighbours were living in fear.”
Police said they had responded to calls over anti-social behaviour in the area and had seen a drop in the number of incidents of late.
PC Natalie Jackson, community beat manager for Layton, told The Gazette: “We were aware of a number of issues in the Mansfield Road area with regards to youths causing a nuisance and drinking.
“This was made a priority and we would regularly visit the area with the anti-social behaviour car and move the young people on.
“We also worked closely with the council and boarded up empty flats.
“We haven’t had any reports of anti-social behaviour in that particular area for some time now.”