‘Machete-wielding’ thugs leave residents in Walsall area terrified after windows smashed and petrol bomb thrown
‘Machete-wielding’ thugs have left people in a Walsall area living in fear after terrifying incidents which included a petrol bomb attack.
Residents in Riverpoint estate, Willenhall, were left shocked when they were woken up by offenders smashing house and car windows and throwing paint over property on two separate nights.
They, along with ward councillors Simran Cheema and Carl Creaney are demanding more action after labelling the police’s initial response as “poor”.
West Midlands Police confirmed officers are investigating and have increased patrols around the area to provide reassurance.
CCTV footage shows four masked men getting out of a car in the early hours of September 9 armed with weapons locals believe to be machetes which were used to attack a home and cars.
A petrol bomb appears to have been thrown at the house but bounced off it before ending up on the pavement and burning out.
This followed an attack at around 3.55am on August 27 elsewhere in the area where masked offenders again used weapons to damage cars and a house.
Residents said the investigation into the first incident was ‘closed’ after just 24 hours due to a lack of evidence but then reopened when the second attack took place.
One victim, who did not wish to be named, said: “They were tooled up and baiting me to come out the house. I was really shocked. I didn’t know what to do.
“No one knows why they did this. It seems random and seems like they’ve got the wrong houses.”
A young family of four – including children aged four and two – who have recently moved to the estate were also on the receiving end of the violence.
The mum said: “It was very scary when it was happening. Thankfully no one was hurt.
“My young son saw it and didn’t go to school because he was so scared someone might come in the classroom and set something on fire.”
Another resident said: “We are all scared and mindful about who is next.
“We’ve got a WhatsApp group and 80 per cent of the residents have cameras so we’re communicating with each other and alerting them if we see people walking around who we don’t know or there are cars on the estate.
“We’re not sure what else we can do. We did talk about security in the estate but that would come at a cost.”
And another neighbour added: “Come Friday and Saturday nights, you don’t really sleep. You hear the slightest little thing and you wake up. I am sleeping downstairs for a couple of hours but then waking up. You can’t live like that.”
Councillor Creaney said: “I’ve never know this type of violence in Willenhall before. Why is this going on all of a sudden?
“We could have a scenario where someone ends up injured or worse but the police response has been poor.
“With the first case, the police closed the investigation after 24 hours. When the second one happened they reopened it.”
And Councillor Cheema said: “What we are calling for now is the council to install CCTV on the entry and exit of the estate and we’re calling for the police late on in the night and early hours.
“We’ve got residents living in fear and they are talking about getting private security and guard dogs on the estate.
“Previously, there has been petty crimes and car thefts but this has stepped up onto another scale we’ve never seen before.
“What’s frightening is they have attacked innocent people and they are worried about it happening again.”
She added she has alerted deputy police and crime commissioner Tom McNeil to the issue while a StreetWatch programme will also be set up.
A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said CCTV was retrieved following the first incident but was “found to not be of sufficient quality to help identify the offenders who are understood to have been masked and wearing gloves”.
Sgt David Edwards of the Willenhall Neighbourhood Team, said: “We take reports of such attacks extremely seriously and understand how upsetting it is when homes and valued property are damaged.
“We are not at this stage linking the two incidents but investigators are keeping an open mind and will continue to gather evidence in our efforts to identify the offenders.
“Our neighbourhood teams in the area have also stepped up patrols to offer further reassurance to residents and we are liaising closely with community partners, including the council.”
Anyone with information about either incident can contact us via Live Chat at west-midlands.police, 8am to midnight, or call 101.
Witnesses are asked to quote log 566 of 27 August or log 254 of 9 September. Crimestoppers can also be called on 0800 555 111.