Yobs make residents’ lives a misery

ANGRY: Fed-up residents pictured outside a damaged house in Furness Street.
ANGRY: Fed-up residents pictured outside a damaged house in Furness Street.

ANGRY residents are making a stand against the “mindless yobs” who are making their lives a misery through anti-social behaviour.

People living in Furness Street, in Hartlepool, say they have finally had enough of the actions of a small number of people blighting their community.

Over the past two months problems have escalated – and fed-up residents are now demanding action.

Problems have included metal thefts, damage to property, people fighting, shouting and swearing at all times of the day and night, rubbish being set on fire, back doors being kicked in and yobs climbing on roofs.

Other problems include noisy and general drunken behaviour, which residents put down to a handful of tenants living in the street.

Hartlepool Police say the area is not classified as a crime “hotspot” but have confirmed that since May officers have been called to 22 reports of anti-social behaviour in Furness Street and the adjacent Cameron Road, Addison Road and Belk Street area.

Furness Street residents John and Jacqueline Swift, both 53, are leading the call for more police patrols and action on rogue tenants.

Mr Swift, who has lived in the street for 40 years, said: “The lives of the decent residents in this street are being made a misery. A lot of people have worked all their lives for their little nest egg but it is being eroded by these little toe-rags who are systematically ripping the street to bits.

“The way the street is at the moment is not acceptable and we fear it will only get worse.”

Mr Swift, a former fisherman, said the police are doing the best they can but called for a greater presence.

He added: “We want to keep the good people in this street and ensure it is safe for children and older people to feel comfortable in their own homes.

“This should be a good area because it is close to all the local amenities but people could be forced out by what is happening. It is the same crowd of people over and over again.”

One woman, a 54-year-old from Peterlee, recently moved into the street and on her first night caught somebody trying to steal lead from her roof.

The woman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I was close to getting my things and putting them in storage and moving out of the street. I was horrified and because I didn’t know anybody at the time, it was scary.

“I feel better now knowing there are people like John and Jacqueline for me to speak to.”

Mr Swift also raised concerns about Hartlepool Borough Council’s selective licensing scheme, which aims to crack down on anti-social behaviour from tenants and improve the housing standards of landlords.

The Belk, Cameron and Furness area is a designated selective licensing area which means private landlords who own property have to apply for a licence.

Mr Swift said: “The landlords can only do so much, it is down to the tenants as well.

“They are talking about rolling the scheme out to other areas of town but it is clearly not working here.”

Mrs Swift, who is the street representative, added: “At the end of the day, the landlords need to really vet the tenants before they are put in and that is not happening.”