A Margate mum says her young daughter is frightened whenever she comes home from school because of youths ‘terrorising’ the block of flats where they live.
The mum, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, says multiple youths and young adults break into Burlington Place on Eastern Esplanade, causing damage inside, taking drugs on the communal stairs and abusing and threatening residents.
She said: “I have to call 999 at least three times a month. I’ve had police out to my building a number of times and officers came to my address at 2am because some of them tried to break in my home while myself and my daughter were asleep.
“It has caused huge anxiety and made my daughter’s mental health worse, its affecting her school routine, she is scared all the time. I have ADHD and mental health issues and these have been made worse due to the level of drug abuse, abusive language and threats, from these groups. Sometimes there are over 15 of them at once, I’ve even caught adults using drugs and injecting in the communal areas on the stairs, obstructing everyone and where kids can see.”
The mum has lived in her flat for around five years and says there has been trouble throughout that time with the situation now deteriorating further.
“I’ve contacted Riverside housing and the council yet it seems to be getting worse. They are ruling my home, 20 youths wouldn’t let us up the stairs to gain access to our home, i called 999 and no police came to assist us.”
There are 36 flats in her block and the mum says the gangs are getting access by kicking in the doors and may also know someone in the block. She says there has also been trouble at the rear of the site with damaged cars and stolen bikes.
She added: “It is so bad that my daughter cries when we are coming home. Where they run up and down the stairs all night keeping her awake means it is also affecting her at school and we are sometimes late.”
The mum, who says she was prompted to speak out after recognising an e-fit from an assault in the communal area of warden-assisted flats in Westgate, says she has been in contact with MP Roger Gale and ward councillor Heather Keen to try and get action before she, her daughter or other residents get hurt.
Chief Inspector Ian Swallow, from Thanet police, said: “Our officers are currently investigating two reports of criminal damage at an address in Eastern Esplanade, Cliftonville.
“The first incident took place on the evening of Thursday 12 January and the second took place on the evening of Friday 10 February.
“In both incidents, a group of teenagers are alleged to have accessed a communal area and caused damage to signs and piping. Enquiries into both incidents are ongoing with officers working to establish the identities of those involved.
“Anyone with information is urged to call Kent Police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/28120/23.
“Our officers well understand the impact of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour of this kind, especially when the victims are elderly and vulnerable.
“I urge parents in the area to ensure they know where their children are and make sure they are aware of the consequences of committing crimes of this kind.”
A Riverside spokesperson, added: “We are aware of incidents involving members of the public accessing communal areas at Burlington Place, our mixed tenure site in Margate, and causing damage to property.
“Ensuring our customers’ safety is our priority. We are continuing to work with the local police as they investigate the matter and have made customers aware of how they can report anti-social behaviour and the support available through Riverside.
“We have taken the required steps to improve security of the building, which has resulted in no further incidents of unauthorised access to the block’s communal spaces being reported. CCTV remains in operation at the property.
“We recently invited the local Police Community Support Officer to our customer surgery event to share updates with residents about their investigation and have flagged incidents at the Local Authority’s task force meeting to inform agencies that can support us should the situation escalate.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and ask that our customers contact us should they have any concerns or wish to report incidents of anti-social behaviour, but to please call 999 in the event of an emergency.”