NUISANCE yobs have put residents living in a block of flats in fear of their lives.
Families in Priory View, in Victoria Road North, say they have been intimidated, spat at, and faced violent aggression –and the block has been vandalised with fire alarms set off.
People in the block last year faced drug-using homeless people getting into the block after the front door broke.
But now after that was fixed, youngsters calling themselves the ‘Somers Town Crew’ have been tailgating into the block and shouting abuse from outside.
In one incident, a group shouted at an eight-year-old girl saying: ‘We’re going to cut you up.’
Used needles have been found in the hallway, stairs have been spat on, and people’s initials have been spray-painted on a corridor ceiling.
A door on to the roof has also been broken off its hinges.
Single mum Natalie English, 28, who is bringing up her son Harry, 11, in the block said it’s a ‘nightmare’.
‘They’re so horrible, they start spitting at you and are violent towards you,’ she said. ‘Fire alarms get set off, it’s just a nightmare.
‘If anything happens we just lock our doors.’
Firefighters have been called out twice, on January 26 and March 6.
Resident Michelle Anderson, 30, said her eight-year-old daughter has been threatened by a group of children.
She said: ‘They threatened my daughter, she was on the balcony dancing around getting fresh air.
‘They said “we’re going to cut you up” – she’s eight-years-old.
‘The housing association needs to pull its finger out and do something.
‘They’ve said it’s a police matter.’
Youngsters are able to get in the block as the door has a delayed lock, and Michelle believes vulnerable residents have been coerced into opening the door.
She added: ‘Vulnerable people are getting scared and letting them in.
‘If you’re leaving the building and a group of 12 kids were outside you’re not going to stop them coming in.’
Labour MP Stephen Morgan, who represents Portsmouth South, has been working with residents and has written to Clarion’s chief executive calling for action.
He said: ‘I think more can be done by the agencies involved.
‘Residents must feel listened to and assured everything possible is being done to find a solution.‘
A multi-agency meeting was held with police, the block owner Clarion Housing, the city council and others earlier this year.
A spokesman for Hampshire police said that, since this meeting, there had been ‘a distinct reduction’ in incidents at Priory View, with only one report in March and nothing in April.
The spokesman said: ‘We have maintained a presence in the area and include it on our patrol plan.
‘If residents notice an increase in anti-social behaviour in the future, we would encourage them to call 101 to report this.’
A spokeswoman for housing association Clarion Housing Group said: ‘We are aware there have been issues with vandalism and anti-social behaviour at Priory View in the past.
‘We have taken action to minimise the risk to our residents, including installing a new door locking system and intercom in November and disabling the trades button to reduce opportunities for illegal access to the block.
‘We haven’t received any reports of further issues with the door since then, but should problems be reoccurring we encourage residents to report them to us so we can consider what further action can be taken.’