Street gangs make elderly Burnley residents’ lives a misery

Elderly and vulnerable residents plagued by gangs of youths have been “hung out to dry” by police and social landlord Calico according to their anxious relatives.

Friday, 23rd August 2013, 11:57 am

Residents in Calico’s Booth Court and Allen Court sheltered accommodation, off Abel Street, and people living in nearby Pheasantford Green, contacted the Express in desperation to say gangs of youths have been running riot throughout the summer outside their homes.

The litany of shame includes:

Streets littered with drug paraphernalia

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Youths having sex with prostitutes in broad daylight;

Abusive and intimidating behaviour;

Youths urinating and spitting into letterboxes.

Mrs Denise Dixon, whose 79-year-old father Mr William Robinson suffers from dementia, says she is worried for his safety at Allen Court.

“What is happening to my father and his neighbours is disgusting. The behaviour of these gangs is shocking, but what’s worse is the police and Calico are doing little about it.

“We visit my dad every day and these youths are stood outside their windows smoking cannabis. They are verbally abusive to us, and mock my father if he leaves his house. I am so upset because nothing is being done.”

Similar problems have also been reported at nearby Booth Court and Pheasantford Green where two elderly residents spoke to the Express about problems which they said have been going on for years.

One said: “I am at my wit’s end with the behaviour of these people. The authorities have turned their back on us. I’m afraid to leave my house it has become that bad.”

The other, a 72-year-old woman, said she had been forced to move out of Booth Court because the situation had become so intolerable.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle met residents and agreed the situation was unacceptable. He has promised to meet police chiefs and Calico bosses to find a solution. Neighbourhood Policing Insp. Viki Crorken said: “We are aware of concerns from residents and their families in this area and we are engaging with them.

“Seasonal trends show young people will congregate together more in summer and as such we have been regularly patrolling the area and have teams dedicated to engage with the young people and reassure residents. When there are specific incidents of crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour we take these matters very seriously and will deal with the issue appropriately. We encourage anyone who has concerns to contact their neighbourhood policing team.”

Nichola Wright, Calico’s head of Neighbourhood Services, said: “We completely sympathise with residents whose lives are affected by criminal behaviour.

“Our understanding is the people causing the problem are not Calico residents, but we are working with police to ensure decisive action is taken against anyone undertaking criminal activity.”