Police target Suffolk hostel

POLICE today reassured residents that they are dealing with allegations of anti-social behaviour said to be connected to a hostel for foreign workers.

POLICE today reassured residents that they are dealing with allegations of anti-social behaviour said to be connected to a hostel for foreign workers.

Officers have been asked to investigate at Seven Oaks in Trimley St Martin on a number of occasions.

Villagers have complained about drunkenness and other unsocial behaviour, and one woman claimed she was afraid to let her children walk down Church Lane alone because of worries over what might happen.

But police say the incidents have reduced and the situation is now in hand.

A former vicarage and nursing home, Seven Oaks has had a chequered history.

The 28-bedroomed property is currently occupied by foreign workers from European Union countries who rent rooms and every morning are taken by bus to various factories around the area.

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While the imposing detached property is mostly unoccupied by day, it is evenings and weekends when residents have been concerned about various incidents in the quiet village.

Sgt Peter Street, of Felixstowe and District Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the situation at the property had “improved a great deal” following police attendance on a number of matters.

“The gangmaster or foreman has been given some advice about activities on the social side of things and about some of the people on the mobile workforce,” he said.

Police say problems with undesirable behaviour and criminal damage may not all be linked to Seven Oaks but officers had visited the property after concern from residents and the parish council.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal council said there had been one complaint about noise and nuisance caused by a bonfire at the property.

Seven Oaks is understood to still be owned by businessman Larry Graham, who previously owned a number of nursing homes in Felixstowe and Ipswich. He was not available to comment.

He was granted permission in 2000 to use Seven Oaks as a hostel for 50 foreign backpackers taking a year-out from studies despite villagers' worries at so many young men - aged 18 to 30 - roaming their community. The project only lasted a few months and for the past few years has been used for European workers.

Are you concerned about Seven Oaks? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk