Huntingdon community united against anti-social behaviour

A COMMUNITY suffering from anti-social behaviour is making a defiant stand against its tormentors and says it wants more action from police.

A COMMUNITY suffering from anti-social behaviour is making a defiant stand against its tormentors and says it wants more action from police.

Residents of Huntingdon’s Tomlinson Court say they are being dogged by gangs of booze-fuelled louts who congregate outside their homes and openly take drugs.

One family has even been forced to move out in a desperate bid to escape violence and abuse.

Others say they are determined not to be bullied and have called for CCTV and tougher police action to catch “unsavoury characters” .

“We need something done about this,” resident Roger Pettit said. “People are prepared to defend themselves. We are a community in suffering.”

His words fly in the face of a Government report that says Cambridgeshire is able to respond better to areas of local concern and take steps to prevent anti-social behaviour in the first place.

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“The level of police resources devoted to tackling ASB matches the force’s commitment to treat ASB as a priority,” Zoe Billingham from Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary said.

“The force ensures information and intelligence on ASB gathered, analysed and shared effectively across the force.”

Insp Ian Ford, from the Huntingdon North and West neighbourhood policing team, admitted there were some crime hotspots in the area, but he said a lot of work was being carried out to deal with the issues.

“We are aware that there are some problems of anti-social behaviour, but we are working really hard across several agencies to deal with the problems. In recent weeks we have issued behaviour contracts and ASBOs and have been engaging with the local funding team to set aside money to deal with a number of issues.”

Yet Tomlinson Court residents say they reported incidents to police more than a year ago. They complained that groups of up to 20 youths regularly caused trouble on their doorsteps, frequently smashing windows and kicking footballs against people’s homes.

For Rosemary and James Grant it has all got too much. Even though they will have to pay an extra �100 per month, they have decided to flee the area and move into private accommodation because their life has been made such a misery.

“I just can’t live here any more,” Ms Grant said. “We have got to move. It will be quite a relief not to have to put up with it any more.”

Neighbour Paul Cooper said: “No one wants to be forced out. Why should people move?”

He and other residents have called for cameras to be installed but say their requests have been turned down because of a lack of money.

Insp Ford told The Hunts Post that the number of visible patrols in the area had been increased in recent weeks.

“Yes, there are problems and there are a number of repeat offenders, but the area is still a much better place to live than it was years ago, and we are working really hard to address the problems, which can occur on any large housing estate.”