Terrorised couple's prison home
YOUTHS have terrorised an Ipswich couple so much that they have had to turn their home in to a prison.Body sensors, security lights and CCTV cameras surround Kathleen and Michael Smith's home to protect them from the youths who have thrown a stone through their window, shouted abuse at them and stolen the memorial they built for their daughter who died last year.
YOUTHS have terrorised an Ipswich couple so much that they have had to turn their home in to a prison.
Body sensors, security lights and CCTV cameras surround Kathleen and Michael Smith's home to protect them from the youths who have thrown a stone through their window, shouted abuse at them and stolen the memorial they built for their daughter who died last year.
Mr and Mrs Smith told the Evening Star of their plight as a last resort to get action as they feel the police are ignoring their problem and have 'washed their hands' of Gainsborough.
"We never see a policeman when he's wanted, we have never seen the beat cop, we don't even know who the beat cop is," said Mr Smith, 59, of Clapgate Lane, Gainsborough.
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"I have been warned not to take the law in to my own hands. The police said we bring trouble on ourselves because we go after them - so we're supposed to let them ruin our lives and let them get away with it."
Inspector Andy Solomon, of Suffolk Police, said: "The Community Police Officer for the Clapgate Lane area is Pc Gooch who can often be seen walking, riding his bike or sometimes patrolling in a car.
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"He does attend many community meetings and is always willing to give help and advice."
Earlier this month Mr Smith caught a number of youths, who had tried to break in to his shed, and had smashed up a neighbour's green house.
"They ran down the bottom of the garden. I had them trapped in the yard so they made a hole in the fence and escaped but I confronted them and they used the usual abusive language," said the part-time security guard.
He called the police but Mr Smith said they never turned up.
"Had the police come when my husband called them they would have caught them," said Mrs Smith, who is 70 and recovering from cancer.
Mr and Mrs Smith built a memorial in their garden for their daughter, who died last year, but the youths stole all the ornaments displayed in her memory.
"The police came that time and they said there was nothing they could do and we even had the names and addresses of the boys."
Mrs Smith, who had nine children, has been battling against cancer and is now in remission, she also has diabetes and suffers from arthritis and finds it difficult to walk.
"I don't go out unless he's with me," said Mrs Smith of her husband.
Mr Smith said: "It's like a prison. All this week I have been at work and she has stayed on her own – when my car has gone, they know she's on her own.
"We don't want people to think that ours is a special case, it's all round here. It's almost as if the police have washed their hands of Gainsborough."
Insp Solomon said that three Anti Social Behaviour Orders had recently been granted against some of the persistent young offenders in the area and that a recent operation had produced good results and arrests.
He added that Pc Gooch would get in touch with Mr and Mrs Smith to discuss their problems.