Group of 30 neighbours defend home of terrified Leigh Park pensioner from gang of violent yobs

FURIOUS neighbours banded together to defend a 76-year-old’s house from a gang of violent yobs last night.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 18th September 2020, 4:05 pm
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 5:21 pm

A group of about 30 Good Samaritans answered a plea to guard the home of bullied pensioner Peter Haines and his partner Debbie Darling, in Hordle Drive, Leigh Park.

For the past six months, thugs have relentlessly targeted his house, hurling rocks and bricks at it and allegedly threatening him with an iron bar, leaving Mr Haines fearing for his life.

In a single week alone, attacks took place across five consecutive nights, culminating in a brick being thrown through the windscreen of the pensioner’s van.

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Some of the people who rallied to protect the home of Leigh Park pensioner Peter Haines, 76, last night from yobs.

Last night news broke on social media that gang members had been spotted loitering outside Mr Haines home, hurling abuse.

Fearing the pensioner’s home was about to be attacked once again, outraged strangers from across Leigh Park and Havant united in a show of force, forming a human shield in front of his house for hours.

Speaking today, Peter said: ‘They were my angels. They were absolutely wonderful. This is how the Leigh Park community should be.

‘I feel really humbled so many people have come out to help me. I certainly feel a bit safer now.’

The phalanx of neighbours stood guard in groups of six for several hours, with some staying until midnight. Others also carried out regular patrols in their cars.

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One of the first on the scene was security worker Janine Blanks, who said she had to act.

‘The thought of an elderly man and his partner sitting in a chair all night completely terrified, praying for morning light, was abhorrent to me,’ she added.

‘I’m old school, with old school values and to treat a vulnerable couple this way was actually making me feel physically sick.’

Samantha Goodman also rushed to Peter’s aid following a plea on a Leigh Park community Facebook page.

The 42-year-old, of Havant – who was later joined by her son, Lathan, 13, and husband Tony – said: ‘As soon as I saw the message on Facebook I got straight in my car and rushed over there.

‘I was absolutely furious. I just couldn’t believe that anyone had the audacity to go and try and attack his home again - especially after the attacks had been in The News.’

Groundworker Dan Pascoe was another member of the group protecting Mr Haines’ home.

The 29-year-old, of Havant, said: ‘People wanted to make a stand. Nobody there wanted violence. But we weren’t going to let people attack his home.

‘Everyone showed up to make a stand. It was very emotional. I felt part of a community.’

Builder Harry Lewis, 24, dropped everything to join ‘Team Pete’. The dad-of-two, from Leigh Park, said: ‘This was just the final straw. Poor Pete has been going through hell for six months.

‘What he was going through just made me so angry inside. It boiled in the pit of my stomach. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be a prisoner in your own home.’

Hampshire police said officers were called to the scene at about 6.20pm last night. However, a spokesman said no specific offences were reported and added: ‘The local team are conducting additional patrols in the area and if anyone sees any offences being committed, we would encourage them to call 101 and report this to us.’

A 14-year-old and 15-year-old boy, both from Havant, have previously been arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and using threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaviour. They remain under investigation.

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