Couples who live in fear

PUBLISHED: 11:10 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

The gate which has been damaged in a spate of attacks

The gate which has been damaged in a spate of attacks

A COUPLE claiming to have endured seven years of hell from anti-social neighbours have lambasted their landlords for failing to tackle the problem. The Letchworth GC residents, who do not wish to be named, are tenants of the Howard Cottage Housing Associa

Dave Wilmott and Samantha Jackson survey damage to their flat

A COUPLE claiming to have endured seven years of hell from anti-social neighbours have lambasted their landlords for failing to tackle the problem.

The Letchworth GC residents, who do not wish to be named, are tenants of the Howard Cottage Housing Association.

Mr X said: "Our neighbours have destroyed our plants, smashed our fence, broken our back gate, broken our front gate three times, paint-balled the side of the house, thrown eggs at our windows, called us insulting names and frequently woken us up in the early hours.

"The housing association has said they don't have enough evidence to go to court, they don't have enough resources, the neighbours don't want to move, and they will not move them.

"They said we should simply accept their behaviour as differing lifestyles, or move.

"This leaves me with the belief that anarchy is in control of this country since no one is prepared to tackle these people."

Mr X has erected CCTV cameras to try to capture the neighbours damaging his property.

He said: "When I installed CCTV to protect our property and to record their anti-social behaviour, I was informed that the courts would not accept it because it showed too much of their property.

"I moved the camera and now they can continue out of sight of the camera and it doesn't provide enough good evidence."

A spokesman for Howard Cottage Housing Association said: "Howard Cottage has a robust policy for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

"This particular case is longstanding and substantial amounts of time, effort and resources have been invested by Howard Cottage to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all concerned.

"We have worked with both parties to achieve a mutually agreeable solution within the powers available to us.

"Unfortunately the complainants have not been satisfied with any of the proposals offered.

"We have advised the complainants that if they think we have acted ineffectively or against our anti-social behaviour policy that they should invoke our complaints procedure. As yet they have failed to do so."

SCARED to leave their flat in Letchworth GC, a couple are refusing to suffer in silence any longer.

Dave Wilmott and Samantha Jackson moved into their flat in Pyms Close a year-and-a-half ago from Beechridge Lodge in Baldock.

Since then he alleges he has been terrorised by a gang of youths - abused, threatened, assaulted and had his property damaged.

And the 31-year-old reached the end of his tether recently when a window was smashed.

The reign of terror, which started with name calling and throwing stones, has escalated and the area now lives in fear of the gang.

Mr Wilmott said: "It needs something to be done, but it's a catch 22 situation. It's pushed me from pillar to post.

"The other night I was going to do a citizen's arrest but the police said it's borderline as I can get done for imprisoning someone. What can I do? And what happens if an old person goes out there and gets beaten up?"

Samantha, 19, said: "I'm too scared to go out and put my rubbish in the bin. When it first started they were only targeting Dave. Now I'm not sure whether they're trying to target me as well."

Letchworth and Baldock community police officer Sgt Steve Oliphant said: "There have been issues occurring in the area for a while which the community team at Letchworth have been addressing"

Tactics have included a letter drop asking for the local community to help solve the issue.

Sgt Oliphant added: "There are further plans to look at how we can address the issue in the long-term which we will come to notice in the next few months.

"The anti-social behaviour which has been occurring is related to just a few people and we would ask for local community members to contact the community team at Letchworth police station with their concerns and any new issues we could look into."

A spokesperson for North Herts Homes said: "We take anti-social behaviour very seriously and are currently working closely with the police on this particular case.


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