People do not dare leave their homes after 3pm
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Residents living in one of Britain's roughest estates with no rules or order admit yobs rule the streets. Youths as young as eight are terrorising the estate with racist attacks and violence an everyday occurrence.
A shopkeeper told how youths steal eggs from his store then pelt them at his windows. Buses, taxis and cars are also routinely targeted. A local councillor even told how a live pigeon was torn to pieces in front of horrified staff and customers outside a shop in the area as many residents are too afraid to leave their homes after 3pm.
Blakenall, in Walsall in the West Midlands, reportedly fell into a state of disrepair over the past two years. Residents and business owners are now demanding action following a string of incidents including arson attacks, fly-tipping, thefts, assaults and vandalism.
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A fire was started at a house which left a mum and her children too scared to return and a delivery driver was hospitalised after being hit by a bottle. Several streets around the area are also being used as a dumping ground for fly-tipped waste while balaclava-clad youths have been seen wielding knives.
Residents now fear it is only a matter of time before somebody is killed while other homeowners are being driven out of the area. One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "It had got to the point where we are scared to leave our homes even in the daytime.
"The place has just rapidly declined into almost a state of lawlessness since the pandemic. Before then we did have issues but not to the scale we are seeing now. It's like a war-zone out there at times.
"The kids are running riot and they find it funny when police arrive. People are saying it's the roughest estate in Britain and I'm not sure I could argue with that.
"But these kids will wear that like a badge of honour. It's only a matter of time before somebody gets killed around here. You see kids walking down the street with knives and smoking drugs – it's just there is just no rules or order here. The list is just endless – you name a crime and I've probably seen it happening here. It has gone off the rails."
A mum-of-seven, who did not want to be named, said it's the younger people causing the most problems. "They get a buzz from it when the police arrive – but the police end up running away because they get pelted with bricks," she said.
"So we don't feel protected here. My daughter lives opposite where all the rubbish was and she had rats in her kitchen. It's just diabolical – but that's Blakenhall for you. It's become a no-go zone for police and that is what is most worrying. You just don't go out after 3pm."
One shopkeeper, who also did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said he has lost staff as they face being abused on a daily basis. "They come in and steal eggs and then use those eggs to pelt the shop. We get racially abused too, we've just had enough," he said.
Independent Blakenall ward councillor Pete Smith said "it's like something from war-torn Ukraine". People are scared to walk the streets and shops are losing trade, he said.
"There was also this poor pigeon that had its head ripped off outside a shop before they pulled its wings off and just ripped it to pieces," he said. "We need a determined, collaborative and joined up approach with the police, council and housing associations."
West Midlands Police say they are stepping up patrols and using dispersal orders to try and control the issues. Inspector Phil Upton, from the Walsall Neighbourhood Team, said: “We understand how upsetting and worrying this can be and we have been carrying out extra patrols in the area to discourage further incidents and help with our on-going enquiries.
"Officers have also been liaising closely with our partners in the area, including Walsall Council, local housing providers and youth services as we work to confirm the identity of those involved." They have also been using dispersal orders and they have further patrols planned, he added.
Gary Brookes, Walsall Housing Group's director of housing said: "Our empty properties on Dawson Street have been targeted by criminals which has prevented us from accessing them and led to them needing substantial repair work. We will be securing the site in the next few weeks and are looking at what additional steps we can take to prevent any further damage while we work on these properties.
“The situation in Dawson Street is one we are taking very seriously. We are working with a number of partners including the police, council and the residents themselves to resolve these issues.”
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The roughest estate in Britain with no rules and no order – Leicestershire Live
People do not dare leave their homes after 3pm