Year of shock attacks on the elderly

A SHOCKING diary kept by a housing complex for the elderly has lifted the lid on a disgusting catalogue of abuse and attacks on residents by young thugs.

A SHOCKING diary kept by a housing complex for the elderly has lifted the lid on a disgusting catalogue of abuse and attacks on residents by young thugs.

The Evening Star has learnt that residents at Servite House, a complex in Spring Road, Ipswich, made up of 48 flats, are living in fear after a series of incidents involving unruly youths.

In just the past year:

A window was shot with an airgun

Death threats have been made

An elderly man was spat at

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A beer bottle was flung at someone's head

An elderly woman was knocked to the ground by three youths on bikes

Flowerbeds have been continually vandalised

A manager who works at Servite House wrote to Ipswich Borough Council about the problems which she said happen on a daily basis.

The situation began when a footpath linking the new St Marys estate with Trafalgar Close started being used by youths.

The manager, who is seeking money to install a fence to protect residents, said: “The youths continue to walk through the grounds being abusive and threatening to residents daily - even I find their attitude intimidating.

“Tenants are very concerned now the nights are drawing in and there is an even greater risk.”

The manager has made a note of all major incidents involving youths abusing residents at the home.

She said: “Residents were threatened by two youths who told them they shouldn't speak to them or they would shut them up permanently.” That was on August 20, she said.

Another time, on May 15, she said that: “A teenager threw a bottle of beer and missed one of the resident's head by a fraction. The police were called but the youths were gone when they arrived.”

Funding for a secure fence is set to be discussed at a council meeting on Thursday.

Council officers have recommended that £5,000 be put aside towards the £15,000 cost of the project. A further £5,000 has already been stumped up by the north east Ipswich forum area.

The shortfall is expected to be made up from councillors in the area who have cash set aside for local projects.

Tony Clark, Servite Houses director, said: “We've been having some problems this year with badly behaved young people trespassing in the grounds of Servite House. Our residents have been verbally abused, our gardens have been wrecked several times and doors and windows damaged.

“We've been really pleased with the way both Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council have been so helpful working with us to find funding for a fence.”

Have you been the victim of abuse by unruly youths? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

January 5, 2007: Fire door at the side of the building was wrenched off its hinges by two youths who were riding through the premises on bicycles, this door was open whilst an elderly resident brought their shopping in from a taxi, the resident was extremely upset.

January 20, 2007: Young lad of about 17 walked up to the front door and shouted abuse at an elderly male resident who asked what he wanted, he spat at the resident and ran off up the path towards St Mary's.

February 28, 2007: Youth ran over resident gardens on a bike destroying plants and rose bushes. Snowball was thrown at residents flat windows late at night. Tenant with angina was very distressed and had an attack.

March 23, 2007: Three young lads on bicycles took a short cut from Spring Road to St Mary's via our grounds and in doing so not only rode over the flower beds at the bottom of the grounds but knocked over a resident who was bringing in her shopping from a taxi, she was extremely shaken up and banged her hip as she fell, she had not broken any bones but was very badly bruised and took a long time to recover from her ordeal and to build up confidence again - the boys didn't stop and help her up - they left her to manage on her own, luckily she was helped by another resident to stand and was checked over by medics.

March 27, 2007: Two young men and a young girl were found sitting on the benches in the garden, they were all drunk and abusive and only left the property once the threat of the police being called was made.

May 15, 2007: A teenager threw a beer bottle and missed one of the resident's head by a fraction, the police were called however the youths were gone when they arrived. The community police advised we have fencing erected.

May 20, 2007: A lad was found in the back garden of the scheme uprooting rose bushes and throwing them up on to the path to St Mary's, he ran off before he could be apprehended.

May 30, 2007: Rocks and stones thrown at front door and cars in car park late at night. Two of the garden benches were also taken from the garden and taken into woods above. They were retrieved by Allison and some tenants the next day.

June 1, 2007: Two teenage boys rode their bikes through the gardens and round the side of the scheme building until they reached the locked gate - they climbed this and wrenched the lock off at the other side in order to get their bicycles through - they were only found to have done this as they were riding away, the police were informed but failed to come to the scheme.

June 18, 2007: Teenagers on skateboards collided with tenant in grounds.

June 29, 2007: Residents in the maisonette flats near the road had their floral displays chopped down, uprooted and pots broken and stolen. Also a tenant was threatened by youth with physical violence if he tried to stop him walking all over his garden. Alison intervened to stop tenant being hurt. Tenant refused to allow police to be called as he was too scared.

August 20, 2007: Residents were threatened by two youths who told them that they shouldn't speak to them or they would shut them up permanently.

September 6, 2007: Tenant found two flat tyres on his van when he went out in the morning - was fine the day before.

September 12, 2007: The benches from the garden were taken up in the wood on the St Mary's path and used in a den there, these are extremely heavy and had to be carried back down to the scheme by residents.

September 25, 2007: A resident at the end of the ground floor had his downstairs window ripped off its hinges and had to be repaired - this was by two lads on bicycles who laughed when the realised the flat was an old gentleman's, the gentleman has a heart condition and felt extremely vulnerable and upset after this event.

October 1, 2007: A bed of flowers were ripped out of the ground by young lads with hooded tops during the evening, They were seen by residents on the ground floor and reported but by the time the report was made the damage was done.

October 8, 2007: Stones were thrown at the windows of the scheme near the main entrance from the path above the scheme that runs up to St Mary's, target practice seeming to be the aim of the game.

The youths continue to walk through the grounds being abusive and threatening to residents daily - even I find their attitude intimidating. Tenants are very concerned now that the nights are drawing in and there is an even greater risk.

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