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Yobs 'running riot' and 'terrorising' Walsall estate including 'tearing a live pigeon apart'

Yobs as young as 10 are allegedly running riot and terrorising a Walsall estate by committing acts including tearing a live pigeon apart, racial abuse and assault.

Houses in Dawson Street, Blakenall, which have become a dumping ground. PIC: Councillor Pete Smith
Houses in Dawson Street, Blakenall, which have become a dumping ground. PIC: Councillor Pete Smith

Tormented residents and shopkeepers in Blakenall are demanding action following a string of incidents which have resulted in fears someone will be killed and are driving people out of the area.

Police, along with the council and Walsall Housing Group (whg), said they are aware of incidents and were stepping up patrols and using dispersal orders to stop the incidents.

But independent Blakenall ward councillor Pete Smith people had little trust in the bodies as they hadn’t seen firm enough action being taken.

Some of the ‘appalling’ acts witnessed in the past few weeks include:

  • A fire at the back of a house in Blakenall Row thought to have been started deliberately which left a mother and her children so traumatised they refuse to return.

  • A delivery van driver being hit by a flying bottle which resulted in him being hospitalised suffering from possible eye damage.

  • A live pigeon being ripped apart in front of horrified staff and customers outside a shop.

  • Businesses being pelted with eggs, flour and bricks causing damage to property and stock.

  • Shopkeepers suffering racial abuse, damage to their buildings and threats which have resulted in some staff quitting their jobs.

  • Houses in Dawson Street being trashed and used as a dumping ground

Locals also said buses and taxis, along with passing vehicles, routinely get attacked while shelters are constantly smashed. Other issues include littering and theft.

On resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have the police around daily in the area but the kids just think it’s funny to throw eggs at them and laugh.

“The (past) two years round here has gotten worse, the amount of damage that’s been done.

“It’s making people scared to leave their house, teenagers vandalising houses that are empty and smashing the windows. Nothing’s been done about it.”

A shopkeeper said: “I get abuse all the time and they throw eggs into the store. CCTV captured them doing this and I’ve shown this to the police but it hasn’t stopped.”

Councillor Smith said: “Enough is enough. The residents, shoppers and shop staff cannot tolerate this situation any longer.

“I fear that the way things are going there could be a fatality. This could potentially have happened in the last few days with the attack on the van passenger and the fire at a local property.

“I am now satisfied the council, police and the housing associations are fully aware of everything that is going on.

“Trust in public bodies like this is very low because on the ground folk have not seen that sufficient action has been taken to address the problem.

“Re-assurances must be given that show that their concerns are being heard and will be acted on.

“However, the situation has become so serious that I am now convinced that a joint effort between the council, the police, the housing associations, with the support of residents, shoppers and shop workers, is the only way forward.

“It seems there is now a plan of action which hopefully will address the problems we have in parts of Blakenall.”

Inspector Phil Upton, from the Walsall  Neighbourhood Team, said: “We are aware of growing concern around instances of appalling behaviour by a small minority of young people in the Blakenall area.

“We understand how upsetting and worrying this can be and we have been carrying out extra patrols in the area to discourage further incidents and help with our on-going enquiries.

“Officers have also been liaising closely with our partners in the area, including Walsall Council, local housing providers and youth services as we work to confirm the identity of those involved.

“We have also been using dispersal orders in the area to remove and deter those identified as responsible.

“Our work to tackle this issue is continuing and evolving, with further increased patrols planned along with targeted action to curb this totally unacceptable behaviour.”

A Walsall Council spokesperson confirmed they were also aware of the problems and added: “The council is actively working in partnership with West Midlands Police colleagues, partners and the local community to tackle these issues.”

Gary Brookes, whg Director of Housing said: “We are really concerned about ongoing issues in this area regarding criminal activity and antisocial behaviour.

“Our empty properties on Dawson Street have been targeted by criminals which has prevented us from accessing them and led to them needing substantial repair work.

“We will be securing the site in the next few weeks and are looking at what additional steps we can take to prevent any further damage while we work on these properties.

“The situation in Dawson Street is one we are taking very seriously. We are working with a number of partners including the police, council and the residents themselves to resolve these issues.”

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