Waterlooville council estate troublemakers warned '“ you could lose your homes

POLICE have issued a stark warning to troublemakers on a council estate '“ change your behaviour or face being evicted from your home.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 23rd September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:34 pm
The skate park at Wecock Farm
The skate park at Wecock Farm

That’s the core of a new action plan to stamp out rising anti-social behaviour and drug-related crime on Waterlooville’s Wecock Farm.

Youths who persistently prove to be a nightmare are being issued with an ‘acceptable behaviour contract’ – and families could be turfed out of their properties if conditions are breached.

The strategy has been launched by police in conjunction with councils, housing organisations and health groups to bring about change.

It comes as victims of crime speak of their ordeal dealing with children on the estate.

Inspector Dave Humphries, who is overseeing the operation, said: ‘Working alongside Havant Borough Council, the housing and health providers, and local schools, our main objective with this is to improve life for people in the area by resolving issues over the longer term and addressing some of the causes of crime and anti-social behaviour.

‘The neighbourhood policing team continues to carry out high-visibility patrols where specific anti-social behaviour trends have been reported to us.

‘We’ve spoken to all parents of children involved in any anti-social behaviour, and their actions could lead to the youths having to agree to an acceptable behaviour contract.

‘Housing providers are closely linked into this and these are binding contracts, usually lasting for three to six months.

‘Breaches could jeopardise the tenancy of their property.’

One Kite Close resident, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘My friend has had her driveway spray-painted with some sort of gang reference, they keep trying to get her son involved.

‘He’s refused, and basically he’s at the point where he won’t leave the house because he’s worried that he’s just going to be accosted like that.

‘She’s had to resort to extreme measures and put nails at the top of her garden fence because they keep coming over and try to get him to come out from his bedroom window. It’s worse this year than it’s ever been.’

Another resident said: ‘We’ve got a drug culture in this country now, and drink culture.

‘It’s changed from my day. Our boy will go out with a friend to the park, but they don’t want to go and play because there’s a group of lads there and they feel intimidated by them.’

Another neighbour added: ‘When a bunch of 14-year-old kids get together, they start showing off to each other.

‘There is almost a gang mentality.’

There were 277 reports of anti-social behaviour in and around Wecock Farm between August 2015 and July 2016, making up 37 per cent of all reported crime in that patch.

Wecock resident Nick Rundle, who was attacked on his mobility scooter earlier this year on the same day his son was assaulted, is concerned.

He said: ‘A lot of the parents I speak to say they their children are too afraid to go to the skatepark or playpark, so they stay at home.

‘The problem is youngsters picking on other kids – verbally but there are a lot of assaults going on.’

Hart Plain councillor Gerald Shimbart, who covers Wecock, warned that bullying is an ongoing problem.

He said: ‘It is alarming. But it’s not a new phenomenon.’

Ann Waters, chairwoman of the trustees for Wecock Community Association, said: ‘There are parts of the community involved in the drugs scene, but there are people working hard behind the scenes to sort that out.

‘There are issues, but there are issues everywhere.

She added: ‘It’s an amazing place, with a real strong sense of community spirit.’