Residents back dispersal order

RESIDENTS living in a pocket of north-east Ipswich blighted by anti-social behaviour today backed the introduction of a dispersal order.More than 60 people living in and around Freehold Road signed a petition calling for action to be taken against gangs making their lives a misery.

RESIDENTS living in a pocket of north-east Ipswich blighted by anti-social behaviour today backed the introduction of a dispersal order.

More than 60 people living in and around Freehold Road signed a petition calling for action to be taken against gangs making their lives a misery.

Today, with notices of the crackdown in place, families said they were happy with the response of the police, along with the borough and county councils.

As revealed in yesterday's Evening Star one resident claimed people were so fed up a lot of them were moving away.

However, fears remain that the six-month order is not a long-term solution and is simply moving the problem elsewhere.

The resident behind the petition, who does not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: "I'm pleased they've taken notice of us but it doesn't change the fact these people will still be out there causing damage.

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"It will shift them from one area and the kids will find somewhere else to go. But I suppose at least they won't be around here quite so much."

Problems with anti-social behaviour in the area have spiralled over a long period of time.

Gangs of youths, mainly teenagers, regularly congregate outside the Spar shop. It is claimed they intimidate customers and drink alcohol in the street.

Demolished walls, cut fuel lines on cars, and verbal abusive are some examples of the campaign of terror some people have endured.

The resident said: "I've been here two-and-a-half years and it's getting worse and worse.

"At Christmas we had a brick through the window and we've had enough of the cars being scratched and the noise."

Mopeds and motorcycles, sometimes carrying passengers not wearing crash helmets, have also been seen tearing through the area at various times of day.

The dispersal order, which allows unruly groups to be moved on between 9pm and 6am, will run for six months.

Unsupervised youngsters, aged under 16, are also able to be taken home, or to a place of safety, under powers, part of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

What do you think of the order? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Response of people filling in a questionnaire.

"I'm a single mum of four young children. Two of my girls sleep in the front of the house and wake up crying because of the noise. I feel threatened when they keep banging on my door."

"I have lived in my home for 37 years and have never felt I wanted to move until last few months. When you go to the shop (the Spar) in the mornings, the front is covered in litter and it is not unusual to find broken bottles, which considering there is an infant school nearby is disturbing."

"I and my children have become increasingly trapped in our own home. I have been verbally abused and also suffered criminal damage to my vehicle."

"I feel physically intimidated when visiting the Spar and sometimes having coins thrown in my direction - luckily not hitting me.

"My children are too scared to walk to the shop. Beer bottles are thrown and smashed over cars."

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