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Punters target residents for sex

PUBLISHED: 22:25 15 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

DESPERATE punters prowling Ipswich's red light district have started knocking on people's doors to ask for sex, the Evening Star can reveal today.

One Portman Road resident, who is too scared to be named, spoke of her embarrassment and shock when a disabled gentleman asked her for sex in front of her children.

DESPERATE punters prowling Ipswich's red light district have started knocking on people's doors to ask for sex, the Evening Star can reveal today.

One Portman Road resident, who is too scared to be named, spoke of her embarrassment and shock when a disabled gentleman asked her for sex in front of her children.

She said: "He knocked on the door and was saying he heard there were working girls down here and could I help him out because he needed one.

"I was very shocked and embarrassed, because my children were standing right there with me."

The incident happened at around 3pm on April 5, and after pacing the street and knocking on other doors the man was seen stopping a young woman to ask the same question.

The resident added: "My kids can't go out and play because there are needles scattered in the street and Alderman Park is littered with needles and used condoms."

Her neighbour who has lived in the street for eight years said: "It is a vicious circle because most of the prostitutes are also on drugs, so as well as curb crawlers there are other users and dealers coming into our area.

"And with men constantly approaching you outside your own front door thinking you are a prostitute, it makes you petrified to leave your house.

"I was even threatened once by a prostitute when I asked her to move along the road so she wasn't standing right outside my house. I don't think they would think twice about sticking a brick through the window."

Other residents told the Evening Star they echoed the two mothers' views. Some said the mysterious caller had knocked on their doors asking if they were prostitutes.

Despite police efforts to move vice away from residential areas, some still live their day-to-day lives in fear and feel something drastic needs to be done about the area.

One mother said: "We have had a murder over the road and a girl attacked on the park. With needles and condoms lying in the street and on the park, how much worse can it get before they do something about it?

"If they would just clear up the park, then at least our children would have somewhere to play that we would know is safe."

Town centre acting inspector Mark Lewis said: "Increased patrols are being carried out under Operation Hesin - our campaign aimed at reducing and displacing prostitution especially from residential areas of the town."

"Officers have been carrying out house to house enquiries to gather community intelligence in relation to the problems. We rely heavily on information from the public and would urge people to call us when they have any information in relation to prostitution."

Mr Lewis also said that traffic wardens and community support officers have been working with police to enforce traffic regulations in and around the area.

He added: "We work closely with the Council with regard to the clear up of the streets especially in relation to used needles and condoms."

Opinion - see page 6.

N What do you think of the area? Are you a working girl who can tell the other side of this story? What should be done to solve the problem? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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