Ipswich resident attacked with bricks while taking a photograph of suspected drug dealers in Little Bramford Lane area

The injuries to James Hollins' leg

The injuries to James Hollins' leg - Credit: Archant

The deep bruising on the back of James Hollins’ leg bears testimony to the 66-year-old’s fight to drive out the scourge of drugs from his neighbourhood.

James Hollins was attacked on scaffolding outside of his house in Ipswich.

James Hollins was attacked on scaffolding outside of his house in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Mr Hollins said his injuries, which required hospital treatment, were caused by a barrage of missiles hurled at him while he was trapped on scaffolding in Little Bramford Lane at the rear of his home in Waterloo Road.

Mr Hollins said the drug problem has become more blatant over the last 12 months.

He said it reached a new low when he tried to take photos of men he believed were dealing.

Mr Hollins said: “It’s been going on since March last year.

“My son and I have been building around the back. I’ve noticed gatherings of people on a regular basis and it turns out they are either dealing drugs, using drugs, waiting for drugs, drinking in the street, urinating defecating or flytipping.

“They stand in line like buses, waiting for their dealer to come round on his bike in a hoodie. Their exchanges take place quite blatantly in broad daylight.”

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Mr Hollins said the dealing happens up to four or five times a day with different dealers involved.

He is annoyed the council still leave a needle bin in Little Bramford Road at the rear of his property.

Mr Hollins said: “It has recently been renewed – a bright, new shiny one that is more conspicuous than the old one.

“It’s used by these druggies who seem to feel the council is condoning their behaviour by leaving a bin there for their use.

“I suggested it might go the whole hog by supplying a coffee table and flat screen TV for them, but the council thought I was being facetious.

“I have reported this happening on a regular basis. There have probably been 20-30 reports to the police since March last year.

“They have been unable to do anything about any of it. I’m assured they are doing something. From the public point of view they are not.

“I have been asking the council for CCTV to be put in they say we are not a priority. When do you become a priority? It’s like Catch 22. I’m in the middle.

“The police have asked me to contact them to supply them with information and I have done.

“On this occasion it has all gone wrong because five of them attacked me.”

Mr Hollins claims he was working on the scaffolding at the front of his home between 3pm and 4pm on Saturday, April 2 when he saw five young men acting suspiciously.

“I noticed some gathering starting. There were doing something surreptitiously together behind my van, exchanging little packets and money.

“They were quite blatantly dealing.

“I recognised two of them as having been there before.

“I started to take photos. One of them saw me and they started to walk towards Wellington Street. Immediately, three of them came back.

“Some rubble had spilled out through the fence and on to the path – half bricks, stones, and lumps of concrete. They picked them up and started throwing them at me.”

He added: “It carried on for two or three minutes.

“They left me quite badly injured.

“I was totally exposed to them.

“I thought ‘this time I’m going to get really badly injured here’.

“Several bricks have hit me. I just got this barrage of bricks.”

Mr Hollins said his attackers eventually went away.

He has lived in his home since 1986 and wants to see the removal of the drug bin in Little Bramford Lane, as well as the installation of CCTV in the area.

Mr Hollins has submitted a 120-strong residents’ petition to the council urging it to do something.

“The dynamic of the area has changed. This place has completely changed in the last seven or eight years.

“Now I don’t know who to speak to, who to trust.

“The neighbours feel the same. You are all alone together.

“I’m frightened out of my flipping mind. I just don’t know what is going to happen next.”

Mr Hollins said he does not notice a police presence in the area, except when officers are called to deal with incidents.

However, he is sympathetic to their difficulties. He said: “How can I blame the police when they are being cut like they are (due to Government cost-cutting). But I do blame the police because they are there to look after us. Maybe they are just not able to. It also feels like the council don’t give a damn.”

Mr Hollins added he is not easily intimated. However, he now feels increasingly anxious about leaving his home after dark.

One of Mr Hollins’ neighbours Tony Edwards said he does not believe other residents feel particularly fearful.

However, he agreed there was concern over drug-dealing and usage.

The 73-year-old said: “Generally the area is quiet and peaceful, but we want to have zero tolerance over this sort of behaviour.

“When drug dealers start throwing bricks at people I think it’s appalling.

“For the council to respond to complaints about drug dealing by putting a new needle bin in is appalling.

“It’s like giving tacit approval (to using drugs). I don’t think there’s a visible police presence.

“I don’t even see a police community support officer in this area.”

Anne-Marie Breach, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said: “We are aware of an incident on April 2, where a man had rubble thrown at him.

“A 19-year-old man from Ipswich has been arrested and bailed in relation to this crime.”

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman acknowledged it had received Mr Hollins’ petition.

He said: “We can confirm we have received the petition and are in the process of considering it.”

In the past the council has said that ‘sharps’ bins are used as a measure for the safe disposal of needles.

It believes if the needle disposal points were not put in place it would increase the danger to residents, particularly children, if ‘sharps’ were discarded in the street or open spaces.

There is also a danger if needles are just thrown into general waste bins.

A total of £3,000 ‘sharps’ were discarded in Ipswich in the last year.

Since June 14 last year police made 197 drug-related arrests in Ipswich and conducted over 100 proactive warrants.