Neighbours’ terror at the hands of thugs

Anti-vandal paint sign in Sharpe Road, Grantham.
Anti-vandal paint sign in Sharpe Road, Grantham.
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FAMILIES living in a Grantham neighbourhood feel like prisoners in their own homes, living in terror at the hands of young thugs.

Burglaries, arson attacks and intimidation are rife in an area of the Harrowby ward, where neighbours are too afraid to stand up to the groups of youths who have turned the once peaceful area of Signal Road, Sharpe Road and Gorse Rise into a “nightmare”.

Residents have spoken out about their fear, but are too terrified to be named for fear of retaliation.

One woman, of Signal Road, told us: “We’ve lived here for 29 years and it’s been absolutely wonderful. All this has changed our lives.

“We haven’t had a holiday this year because we daren’t leave our house empty.”

She went on to tell of screaming and swearing throughout the night, damage to cars parked in the street, clambering through gardens and smashing down fences.

Her husband added: “We do everything we can to protect ourselves and our property. We try not to let them see us leaving the house together. Every time we leave, we don’t know what we’re going to come home to.

“A lot of neighbours feel frightened and threatened in their own homes.

“The police are here at least three or four times every week. But the teenagers just laugh at them.”

One neighbour has even installed several cameras around his property to deter the yobs, while another said the youths tried to break into his shed after turning the sensors on his security light away.

Another neighbour told the Journal eggs were thrown at his house when he dared to speak up.

All these issues are repeatedly reported to police and are the main topic of discussion at regular neighbourhood policing panels.

Sergeant Dan Gilmore, who works in the area, said: “We have identified a number of youths in the area who are causing problems. Some have been arrested and there are active court cases ongoing.

“However, the offences involved do not involve violence and residents need not fear any violence in the community.

“Our teams are down there on a regular basis and are working with people who live in the area.”

Coun Bruce Wells is the elected representative for the Harrowby ward. He blames the lack of free facilities for teenagers and their inability to entertain themselves for their trouble-making ways.

He said: “You can bring it down to money every time. But being skint is no excuse for setting fire to anything or breaking into sheds. When I was younger we entertained ourselves. But I do feel we have to help them somewhere along the line.”

l Are yobs tormenting you and your neighbours? Is a lack of entertainment an excuse for anti-social behaviour? E-mail: comment@granthamjournal.co.uk