Plea for crime commissioner to intervene as Athelstan Road residents ‘reach breaking point’

Athelstan Road residents say they have been plagued by antisocial behaviour

By Jodie Nesling

Residents plagued by anti-social behaviour have appealed for the district’s Crime Commissioner to intervene after reaching ‘breaking point.’

Anna-Maria Nerelli attended a public meeting in Margate as a representative for the Athelstan Road Tenant’s and Residents Association (ARTRA) and told police chief, Matthew Scott the situation was untenable.

The summer months experienced a rise in on-street drinking and noise including karaoke machines played in the streets, teens smashing bottles and all-night partying keeping families with young children awake and leaving residents with no sleep on week nights.

Anna-Maria, who owns a property in Dalby Square, told the commissioner: “ARTRA residents are at near breaking point with constant partying in the street, lack of sleep and no resolution to this. Not just weekends, often nights in a row.”

Residents complained that phone calls to 101 (non-emergency) have proved unhelpful with no response or visits from police. Call handlers also direct residents to a non-existent ‘out of hours’ Thanet council phone line.

PCC Matthew Scott

Mr Scott argued it was Thanet council’s responsibility but that he would try and improve communication between agencies and asked for call logs to be sent to him.

Addressing the meeting Mr Scott, who has been in the position for four years, says antisocial behaviour is a priority for the police. He said: “I want to make our community safer but it’s work in progress; dealing with county lines gangs from London and other complex issues.”

Asked by Kent county councillor Barry Lewis whether he had achieved as much as he would have liked the commissioner responded: “To be honest I haven’t but we are making progress.”

Mr Scott, a Conservative member, cited the police cadet scheme as a way of educating young people and improving the relationship between the force and the community. There are plans to roll this out to Thanet after successes in other areas of the county.

Mr Scott says the police are committed to tackling ASB with extra police staff and says 101 calls and an online service had greatly improved the process of reporting crimes. He also stressed that violent crime would always be prioritised.

Police Presence

Police visibility at night time was discussed and Mr Scott agreed to look into a tactic called red routing. This means on a call to a location the police car would travel through areas most affected by ASB and violent crime as a means of deterrent.

Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)

Thanet council exercise the power to prohibit anti-social behaviour in designated areas. The areas cover parts of Cliftonville and Ramsgate harbour. They were authorised in 2018 and expire in 2021 and were designed to stop high levels of anti-social behaviour by providing extra powers to Thanet council and the police.


  1. The residents of cliftonville including Athelstan road have been let down by Thanet council and police. Anarchy on some streets, proud to be fighting their corner against the establishment s indifference

    • No they havent Barry. You are arguing against normal cultural behaviour which the majority of residents have no problem with. This article relates to a select few DFLs who thought they would make a killing by buying the cheapest properties in Kent then found out whybthey were the vheapest properties bin kent.

  2. Sorry I think they are whistling in the wind if they expect the Kent Crime Commissioner to be of any help. He is a waste of public money.

  3. Anna-Maria Nerelli is only interested in improving her holiday let business on Dalby Sq. she actually lives fulltime in Maidstone… Sadly her only interest is improving the area for her personal gain and business, shame that she didn’t have as much consideration for her own neighbours when she had 25 guests partying all night at her holiday let in Dalby sq!! what a hypocrite!!!

    • I cannot comment on Ms Nerelli’s guests. However, she works tirelessly for the community litter picking etc. and indeed lobbying. No matter what her motives( we live in a capitalists society after all) , she at least gets off her backside and does something to help. I find her to be a kind and caring person. Hyprocrite is virtual libel. ( No money has exchanged hands for this comment ! )

      • Dana Slovakana please contact me as I would like to meet you face to face and put the record straight with you. We had 1 group that LIED to us about who was staying and we do not accept groups like this. Whether I live in the area or not I am still bothering to try and improve the area, and make friends with our neighbours, whatever their background or status in society. I have had the local kids in playing lego with my son, and chat to local residents when I can, thanking those that treat the area well. I will be out litter picking on 18th September and it would be great to see you there!

    • By the way. Have I met you on any of the litter picks in Dalby Square ? I walked through yesterday and it again was awash with discarded cans , bottles and cigarette ends and uprooted plants. It is only a week or fortnight ago that I and two other people ( Anna-Maria being one of them) spent nearly two hours litter picking and sweeping up broken glass. As you apparently live on the Square, perhaps you could use your influence ask your neighbours to also have consideration for their neighbours on a daily basis by treated this rare green space with a modicum of respect. ps I dont live ON the Square but regularly walk through ( picking up other people’s litter as I go) .

  4. Cliftonville West Ward has slowly got worse and worse since the removal of the multi-faceted Task Force from daily life there. There is almost no police presence there during daylight hours, only police cars passing through but taking no notice of anything, and certainly only rare emergency presence during nightime.
    Anarchy might sound over the top but it is surely heading that way and it needs to be brought back under control quickly. The drugs gangs, drug addict activity and anti-social behaviour is at it’s worst it’s ever been and the senior police officer in Thanet must get a grip on this immediately.
    Calling for police help is now a waste of effort as those pleas are left unadressed and without follow-up, no exaggeration!
    How it has been left to get like this in Cliftonville is something that the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott should be looking at with view to make changes happen urgently.

    • The area has gone downhill in terms of crime and asb since we lost the dedicated beat officer, around 2004 we had PC Allan Powell, who made a huge difference to the area. He once reckoned that if he were able to have the 10 most prolific offenders removed from the area, problems would halve and he’d have far more time to deal with the other half.

  5. The view of the council and police is that every one has to live somewhere, as a result in the absence of an effective criminal justice system ( whatever that maybe) you have areas in which some of societies more problematic and least socially responsible tend to congregate. Left on their own they behave the way they do amongst themselves and are content, but when those with higher standards arrive the tensions build.
    Its why you have areas where some will not choose to live , no matter what resources and money you pour into an area little will change. Athelstan road is a world of its own in an already blighted area has been for many years and is likely to continue being so.
    The vocal residents are just bringing more attention to a long standing issue. Walk down the road at night and keep an eye out for the meerkats (lookouts) they’ll be outside the latest brothel/drug den. Police and council are well aware but happier to keep the problem contained in a known location than see it displaced.
    The main problem with Dalby Square is the trees at the top end that give plenty of cover for the drug dealing and drinking that goes on there, plenty of time to throw your drugs into the bushes if police approach, 3 ways in and out. Could have been almost designed to support nefarious activity.
    As for Anna’s place, its a shame there was not more criticism of the charity that left it empty for 10 years and TDC refusing to act on the state of the buildiing and its planning permission irregularities.
    Anna and her partner have put huge amounts of time/effort/cash into the building which had been rotting for years, i’m only a few doors away and am unaware of any problems that would even register on the scale of those in Athelstan.

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