Don’t be vigilantes – neighbours urged not retaliate to trouble-makers on housing estate

Castle Court in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Castle Court in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

Angry neighbours frustrated by troublemaking teenagers on a housing estate have been urged not to retaliate – for fear it could only make matters worse.

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

Residents in Castle Court, Whitton, Ipswich and the surrounding area have been plagued by anti-social behaviour woes in recent months.

A public meeting attended by 100 people was called this week after people described regularly having abuse shouted at them and frequent acts of criminal damage and even violence and arson attempts.

The meeting, chaired by Anthea Boast of the local Neighbourhood Watch team, was also attended by councillors and police officers.

Inspector Kevin Horton, from Suffolk police, said an action plan is being developed to address the concerns raised.

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH

Garrick Way in Ipswich. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

But even though Castle Court resident Simon Tuddenham, who organised the meeting, said it was “fairly calm and ordered”, one person said: “If you don’t sort it out, we will.”

Mr Tuddenham, 69, who lives with his partner, said: “That’s the last thing I want.

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“If a vigilante group starts up around here, the kids are only going to get more bold, someone is going to get seriously hurt and that’s not going to get us anywhere.

“We have to deal with these things in a measured way.

“I’ve said to people that you’ve got to grin and bear it for the time being.

“If you raise a hand to them, you’re the one who’s going to get nicked.

Mr Tuddenham is worried that: “There are a few people in the community who it wouldn’t take much to push them over the edge.

“Tensions are running quite high at the moment. The mood is quite hostile and intimidating. In some cases people are quite scared of them.”

Mr Tuddenham believes the best solution is to persuade those causing the anti-social behaviour to change their ways, rather than simply leave the area.

One suggested course of action during the meeting was that the troublemakers could lose their housing nearby – but Mr Tuddenham said: “That means they’re only going to end up as someone else’s problem.”

Mr Tuddenham said he hopes to organise a follow-up meeting in due course to talk about the police’s next course of action.

Insp Horton added: ”Representatives from the Ipswich West Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) attended a public meeting in the Castle Court area of Ipswich.

“We were able to engage with local residents and businesses to listen to their concerns regarding anti-social behaviour in the area.

“As a result, a review of all incidents reported to the police in recent weeks and at the meeting is taking place and an action plan is being developed with partner agencies to address the concerns raised.

“We fully acknowledge and understand the distress and upset ASB can have on residents and how it can blight communities and affect quality of life.

“If anyone has been the victim we would encourage them to report it so it helps us to gain a full understanding of what is happening and we can take appropriate action.”

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