Police patrols boost in Sheffield suburb after 'street brawls and drug taking in broad day light' claim

Derek Roberts.
Derek Roberts.

Police patrols have been stepped up in a Sheffield suburb after residents hit out at a rising tide of crime including alleged street brawls and drug taking in broad day light.

People living in Broomhall told how police and ambulance services are out several times a week to deal with disorder and anti-social behaviour in and around Victoria Street.

Inspector Neil Mutch.

Inspector Neil Mutch.

Residents said they believe some of the incidents are focused in the area outside the Victoria Court Housing Project, which provides accommodation for homeless people.

Derek Roberts has been living at the scheme since he was released from prison for robbery two months ago.

He claimed he is now trying to get on the 'straight and narrow' but described living at Victoria Court as "chaotic."

The 41-year-old said: "The police and ambulance are out here in this street every night. I have seen people fighting on four or five occasions outside in the last couple of months, and there are people taking heroin and crack outside."

Victoria Street, Broomhall. Picture: Google

Victoria Street, Broomhall. Picture: Google

He told how his friend was found dead in the complex recently and added: "I woke up and noticed he wasn't breathing so I called an ambulance. That was one of a few incidents.

"It's chaotic. I fear for my safely."

Other people in standard housing also complained about crime levels in the wider community.

Charles Nicholls, a 21-year-old student, said: "You do see police out here quite a bit. There is a particular group who tend to argue and fight, but only among themselves."

Charlotte Waymouth said: "We have seen fights and drug use in the afternoon. However the people who do argue keep it between themselves."

Leigh Dawson added: "Some things never change. Was a no-go area 30 years ago."

Chris Barnsley said: "Mad street. Always has been, was bad when we were young and living there."

A woman, who did not want to be named, said: "It is pretty bad, especially after dark. I wouldn't walk through here at night with my purse on me."

Inspector Neil Mutch said police have not been targeting their patrols around Victoria Court specifically, but more officers have been patrolling the wider Broomhall area.

He added: "We aware of issues reported to police relating to anti-social behaviour issues in the Broomhall area. In order to address these issues, local police community support officers and officers from the Operation Dent team have been conducting extra patrols, speaking with residents and taking action to issue a criminal behaviour order to prevent a known offender from entering the area."

A spokesperson for Places for People, which runs Victoria Court Housing Project, said the complex is close to the city centre's nightlife and so emergency services are naturally "often in the area" but this is "by no means daily."

They added: "There is no evidence of alleged drug-dealing on our premises or damage to properties and we have procedures in place for dealing with any anti-social behaviour. Mr Roberts has not reported feeling unsafe to any of our staff.

"When we were made aware of the unexpected death of Mr Roberts’ overnight visitor, he was provided with a room at a local hotel, while the police carried out their investigations. On his return, the police were still using the property and he was offered an alternative flat which he refused. Our maintenance team cleaned the flat before allowing him access.

"We are currently working closely with Voluntary Action Sheffield to place Mr Roberts with a suitable organisation.”