DRUGS, prostitution and alcohol have turned a Bolton street into a ghetto, residents have claimed.
Now police have launched an operation to tackle concerns about sections of Halliwell Road, following a stabbing at the Mama Mia takeaway in April.
A man was stabbed during an argument and ran out into the road and was hit by a car. A 33-year-old man was arrested and has been bailed.
Anti-social behaviour and prostitution is a big worry for people who live there, and police are now trying to reassure residents and businesses that they will act on the problems.
One worker said: “In the last 10 years it has become a bad place. It is like a ghetto with drugs and prostitutes. This is the first time we have seen the police doing something about it.”
A pensioner, who has lived in Halliwell Road since 1968, added: “I am glad the police are doing this because I feel like no one knows what is going on, but they do now.
“There are always people hanging around outside drinking. Lots of people don’t speak English and don’t work. I don’t know how they live.” A father-of-two, aged 28, added: “The area is not good. I don’t like my children playing in the garden because people throw bottles over that could injure them.
“I don’t like my wife going out. People are intimidating and children swear at you. It’s terrible, that should not happen.”
Shaheen Sameja, neighbourhood manager for Halliwell, said Bolton had a “strong tradition” of welcoming new communities to the area. She added: “As part of that, we know over the last couple of years there are new communities from Eastern European countries, particularly Hungary.
“They are often wary of going to services such as police and health services because they are treated as the underclass in their own country.
“Today is an example of police and the council telling them we are here and that people can tell us their issues.”
Insp Wayne Readfern, of Bolton North neighbourhood policing team, said his officers were reaching out to residents to find out all the issues in the area.
He said: “We want to reassure people so they will come to us with issues.
“This will be a long-term operation.”