'˜We want our lovely little town back,' say crime-hit Sheffield residents
Determined residents in a Sheffield neighbourhood want to reclaim the '˜lovely little town' they once knew from the hands of muggers, drug dealers, prostitutes and vandals.
The plea comes amid claims of 50 muggings of elderly people in only a few months, a bus being driven round the street by joyriders at 1am and drugs openly dealt on the streets.
Residents voiced their concerns about crime at a meeting in Firth Park in the wake of the incidents.
They say one man was brutally attacked only hours after a PCSO told them undercover officers were patrolling the streets.
Police have revealed 17 elderly women had been mugged on just three streets in Firth Park.
Pensioners living in the area said they were now too terrified to leave home alone.
Residents who attended the community meeting to discuss the problems painted a picture of an area they say has ‘descended into chaos’.
They claim that between 40 and 50 pensioners have been mugged since the start of the year across the estate – with 13 attacks in the last five weeks alone.
And they say one man was brutally attacked in broad daylight last Friday, just hours after a PCSO told them undercover officers were patrolling the streets.
Residents on one street even claim that two youths were tearing around the neighbourhood in a stolen bus on Tuesday.
They say this comes on top of open drug dealing and drug taking in the streets, vandalism, theft, prostitution and a sense that the area has ‘gone downhill’.
Dorothy, of Hucklow Road, said: “I was born in Firth Park and it used to be lovely. Now it’s a dive – I call it the black hole of Calcutta.
“All these muggings, druggies, alcoholics and litter everywhere. I never thought Firth Park would get into the state it is now.
“We want our lovely little town back.”
Mum Sineeta Khan, of Ribble Way, said she was woken at around 2am on Tuesday by two youths driving a stolen bus along her street.
She said: “I heard all these crashes and laughter. When I looked out of the window there was a single-decker bus driving along the road.
“I knew it had been stolen – this road’s too small for busses. I could not believe it.”
Residents reported that on Friday, May 6, a man was glassed and attacked outside a fish and chip shop on Sicey Avenue – right in front of terrified children eating their dinner.
They say the incident, which occurred at around 3pm, happened hours after a PCSO told residents that there were undercover patrols in the area.
Tracey Kerrigan, 59, of Downham Road, said: “The PCSO told us that there were undercover police in the area and we didn’t have to worry.
“But when that chap was attacked, in broad daylight, it took one uniformed police officer 15 minutes to attend.”
She added: “Firth Park could be a lovely little area again – and we want to get it back to how it was.
“But it’s everything that’s going off that’s ruining it. You just don’t feel safe here anymore.”
Stephen Towes, of Hucklow Road, said: “The kids just aren’t scared of police or anybody these days. They’re like ‘bring it on’ and what can you do about that?
“It’s the old women I feel sorry for. What sort of monster would prey on frail old women with a walking stick?”
Norma Staniforth, also of Hucklow Road, said: “I’ve lived here for 30 years and in the last couple of years it has got terrible.”
Worried residents have claimed pensioners have been targeted coming out of the bank.
Now in a bid to combat the thefts residents have been given purse bells to alert them if someone is trying to steal their wallets.
Gill Furniss, MP for Hillsborough and Brightside, said: “I am truly shocked by these reports. This is not the Firth Park I know and I will be doing everything I can to help residents.
“Any victims of crime should report it to South Yorkshire Police straight away. It’s very important all crimes are logged. “I will be securing an urgent meeting with police and ward councillors, as well as speaking to residents.”
Police are investigating the spate of street muggings.
n Anyone with information should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101.