A motorist says he and his daughter could have been killed after vandals tampered with one of his car’s wheels.
Altaf Hussain drove at speeds up to 60mph on the A19 in his Mercedes while taking his daughter to visit her husband in hospital unaware that one of his wheels was loose.
It later emerged someone had removed one of the wheel nuts and the remaining three were slack.
The wheel fell off almost as soon as a mechanic looked at it.
Mr Hussain, 65, said: “I’m shocked, I had my daughter with me. What would have happened if the wheel just fell off when I was on the A19? We would have been dead.”
It is just one of a series of incidents of cars being tampered with and damaged by yobs in Milton Road, Hartlepool.
What would have happened if the wheel just fell off when I was on the A19? We would have been deadAltaf Hussain
Other residents say they have had their tyres slashed, wing mirrors ripped off and large scratches with the cost running into thousands of pounds.
Mr Hussain, who is retired, was taking his grown-up daughter Shadia Hussain to see her husband in the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, last week when she heard a strange noise.
He said: “As soon as I left the A19 there was a big rattling noise coming from the back of the car.
“My daughter said ‘I think your exhaust must be lose’. I took it to the garage in the morning and when they lifted it onto the ramp the wheel just fell off.” He said it was only being held in place by one locking nut.
Mr Hussain added: “They have been scratching cars, but this is serious. If I had been going any faster I believe it would have snapped.”
Frustrated Milton Road residents have called for increased neighbourhood police and better CCTV coverage.
Jim Mackenzie, 72, said he has suffered end to end scratches, a smashed front grill and valve caps being pinched to his cars.
The retired lorry driver said: “We would like to get our community bobbies back and the camera pointing in the right direction because where it’s positioned at the moment along Tankerville Street is neither use nor ornament.”
Resident, Joseph Fairlamb, 72, was left counting the cost after the new tyres on his Vauxhall Zafira Tourer mobility car were slashed.
And just two weeks later it was badly scratched.
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said two of his wheel nuts had been slackened.
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “The CCTV camera at the junction of Milton Road/Tankerville Street - like all cameras across the town - is adjusted according to the intelligence we receive and level of incidents in the area. It is not fixed on Tankerville Street and can be adjusted to cover Milton Road.
“Residents living in the area can be assured that we are monitoring the situation closely.”
The spokesman added another camera, which was removed nearby and which Mr Mackenzie has asked for the return of, was removed a number of years ago after a review of CCTV across the town.
They added it would not have captured any of the criminal damage incidents as it was pointed mainly on Lynnfield Primary School.
The spokesman added: “The council’s CCTV cameras play a vital role in helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime.
“We would also encourage anyone who has experienced crime to contact the council’s Victims Services Officer on 01429 523100.”
Sergeant David Halliday, of Hartlepool Neighbourhood and Partnership Policing Team, said: “We do receive reports of criminal damage in the Victoria Ward area of Hartlepool and our PCSOs are on patrol in that particular area on a regular basis to keep an eye on any criminal activity.”
“We continue with our excellent partnership work in Hartlepool, however, we ask members of the community with information to get in contact with us.
“We need people to come forward with any information that they may have regarding any criminal activity in their area.”