Mansfield residents fed up with anti-social behaviour
Residents and business owners are calling for action to tackle crime and anti social behaviour in Ladybrook.
They say a group of around 20 young people - some as young as 13 - are making life a misery for everyone around Ladybrook Square with their behaviour. One shop owner, who did not want to be named through fear of repercussions said: “They come here after school every day and make a mess of the square. “They kick the shop’s stock around, weave in and out of traffic on their bikes and intimidate people, especially the elderly. “The problem is, they’re not scared of the police, when officers come round they just ask ‘what are you gonna do?’”“It’s sad and pathetic that they’re swearing at elderly people. “They’ve just got no respect.
"One of them is going to get hurt when they are on the roads pulling wheelies in their bikes, or they'll do it to the wrong person."Anthony Wharmby, a community campaigner, has tried to reason with the group, who say they have nothing else to do. He said: “I end up standing on the square while the shops are shutting up, because it’s intimidating for people to leave work when they’re hanging around.“The CCTV cameras don’t work, and nothing ever gets done by the police - we don’t see them around here.“Residents are terrified, the group stuffed wood down someone’s chimney flue which could have killed them.”The group have also targeted one shop on the square and racially abused the owners. Rajah and Malarvily Mahendrarajah have run their general store on the square for nine years, but now say they are thinking of leaving the area because of the abuse. Malarvily said: “They have broken our door with their bikes, and turned our fridges off by climbing on the roof. “We call the police but they don’t come. “They say go back to Pakistan, which is not even where we are from, and ask why we are in their country.“They throw bricks at the store, and have keyed our car and egged our home."
Although the Mahendrarajahas have 24 CCTV cameras inside and outside of their shop, and have passed hours of footage to the police, nothing has been done.
"They don't come, they don't take this seriously," said Malarvily.
"Last week we had incidents every day from Thursday to Monday.
"A young girl came in and sprayed bodyspray in the shop, they have thrown stones at the windows and pulled our stands down.
"We have lost too many customers because they are scared."
Another resident, who has lived in Ladybrook all her life, says residents have been let down by police, councillors and MPs, who have all promised change.
She said: "They are getting younger it the problem is getting worse.
"You sometimes take your life in your hands when you go down the shops where they're there, swearing and spitting.
"Some people are scared to leave their homes, it must be terrifying.
"Ladybrook used to be a desirable area, everyone wanted to live here.
"We have asked for CCTV, dog fouling signs, speed limiter signs, more bins on the square and wardens to patrol.
"We have been cut off from Mansfield and forgotten about."
However, PC Amie Whitehouse, of Nottinghamshire Police, says she has worked alongside residents and business owners to bring the problem under control.
"We have been up to the square repeatedly, and although we cannot attend every incident straight away, we are well aware of the issue," she said.
"We are working as hard as we can to identify the offenders, and there are two perpetrators in a group of 20.
"Yes they are a large group, but this is an age old problem.
"We have got criminal behaviour orders on two individuals, and what we are doing is effective, we do speak to parents once we have identified the perpetrators.
"They are children at the end of the day, and they don't always see the consequences of their actions.
"Mansfield District Council have assured us that they will have the CCTV on the square monitored from the Civic Centre.
"We are working really hard and are pleased with the way things are going.
"Any racist comments will not be tolerated, and we went to see staff Thursday to collect their CCTV footage.
"We are working hard to identify the perpetrators."
Mansfield's MP, Ben Bradley said: "This is an ongoing issue and we've met with local police to raise it, as well as bringing local residents and local officers together to share their concerns directly.
"I know that additional support and focus has been given to Ladybrook as a result and I hope police will continue to prioritise keeping local residents safe.”
Councillor for Ladybrook, Coun Sue Swinscoe said: "We are aware of the problems around the Ladybrook shops area and are working with council officers to tackle this, including the installation of CCTV."Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in crime across the country as the number of police officers have decreased, but we will be working hard with the local community to deal with this issue that is blighting the lives of local residents and business owners."