Terrorised residents have had enough

A SELFLESS hero who helped rescue an elderly pensioner from his flat when a car was set fire outside it has today spoken of his disgust for the "monsters" terrorising his neighbourhood.

A SELFLESS hero who helped rescue an elderly pensioner from his flat when a car was set fire outside it has today spoken of his disgust for the "monsters" terrorising his neighbourhood.

His comments come on the same day, residents of two south east Ipswich communities terrorised by thugs have declared: "Enough is Enough."

It follows a weekend of shame in the Reynolds Road and Queen's Way shopping parades that saw burnt out vehicles dumped perilously close to businesses.

But police today promised not to let the culprits intimidate law abiding residents and said they will continue to crack down on problems surrounding the two neighbourhoods.

However Derek Upson of Reynolds Road said he witnessed a crime on Saturday that he would not have thought humanly possible when he saw the yobs torch the cars in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He described how he watched a car being driven up to the windows of Krusty's Bakers and deliberately set alight while those responsible stood back and watched. Mr Upson called the police and threw sticks at the flat windows above the shop to wake those inside.

Most Read

He said "What sort of monsters are these?"

Mr Upson believes the occupants of the flat are lucky not to have been killed.

Chee Leong Lim, 35, was staying in the flat above the South China Restaurant.

He said: "I was sleeping at the time. I heard a big bang and I realised there was a large flame outside. I realised it was a fire from a car. I tried to get out through the back. There was no chance of getting out through the front.

"I was very frightened. I feel very shaken and glad to be alive."

Today Chief Superintendent Geoff Munns, southern area commander for Suffolk police said he was disappointed at the weekend's events.

He said: "I'm sure the community of south east Ipswich share my disappointment regarding the events of this weekend. We remain encouraged by the success to date of the two dispersal orders as far as they relate to reducing low level antisocial behaviour, which had reached unacceptable levels in the areas concerned.

"In contrast, the arsons of the weekend represent serious criminality and are subject to a thorough investigation by my staff.

"If this is an attempt to undo the positive work already done and intimidate the community then we would hope members of the community would assist us in identifying who the responsible individuals are.

"We remain committed to policing south east Ipswich in the style which residents have become familiar with."

It comes in the wake of an incident last night where a shop worker had pepper thrown into her eyes as she left off work.

Her manager, who did not want to be named said: "I am worried about the safety of my staff, it has devastated trade and people are not coming in."

But traders and residents alike are at the end of their tether and want action to be taken to remedy the area's long history of trouble caused by a small minority of people.

Shopkeeper Richard Lilley, of Lilleys Greengrocers, in Reynolds Road, said he feared for his livelihood.

He said: "I've been here 23 years and you are concerned when it's your livelihood that could go up in smoke."

Mr Lilley said the situation had been "simmering" for some time since a dispersal order began in September, allowing the police to move people on.

The 45-year-old said: "It's a small minority that is spoiling it for the majority. We have had problems here for the last year. Over the years it comes and goes as a new generation grows up and moves on. But it has never been as bad as it is now."

The shopkeeper said he could think of nine deliberate car fires in the last four months in the area.

He said: "It has effected trade. The elderly and children are intimidated. Gangs of youths start to hang around in the early afternoon. They do not have to do anything to be intimidating, the fact that there is a gang of eight to ten is enough."

A shop assistant at Krusty's Bakery, which was boarded up after heat scorched the front of the building in the fire said: "It is just crazy really, if we hadn't put up the shutters I don't think the shop would be here. Nothing shocks us now, you just think what's next? We know who is doing it but the police say they have not got the evidence."

Another worker, who again did not want to be named has claimed that the thugs are out of control and that thugs have brought fear and violence back to the streets.

She said Saturday's fires had frightened and upset people and dispersal orders which allow police to move on trouble makers are not tough enough.

She said: "This has shaken people up. This is our community, people coming in today have being saying they have had enough of it and they want something done about it.

"Just moving people on is not getting us anywhere. They make them go away and as soon as the police are gone they all come back again, it is pointless. I am angry and upset to have to put up with this, it's shocking to think it is happening on our doorstep."

Many people also believe the arson attacks on Saturday were an attempt to demonstrate to police and shopkeepers the thugs are determined they won't be stopped.

The shopworker blamed a small minority of people for destroying the atmosphere in Reynolds Road.

"It is giving the street a bad name, it is a few who upset it for everyone.

"People want to get together and give them a good hiding, but a lot of people are scared of comebacks.

"There is no authority over the kids anymore, someone needs to put their foot down, we have trouble in the shop all the time, you try not to fight with them because you don't want the hassle.

"I told one of them off and they threatened to burn my house down."

Reynolds Road was patrolled by police on Saturday afternoon and house to house enquiries were made in a bid to catch those responsible.

n. Do you live in the area? What do you think of recent events and what is being done to quell the troubles? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter