A GROUP of pensioners in a sleepy backstreet are being 'terrified' by a gang of people who meet outside their homes each day.

Elderly residents living in bungalows in Presto Gardens, off Deane Church Lane, say they have to deal with constant abuse, with instances of the group smashing windows, ripping drainage pipes from walls and tearing up gardens.

One man in his 70s, who wished to remain anonymous over concerns for his welfare, said the same three or four people, aged in their early or mid-20s, have gathered outside his home every afternoon since late 2018, often smoking cannabis and drinking cans of beer and cider.

"People are terrified," he said. "It's the presence of them right outside the door.

"Neighbours are going out early because none of them are around. These people are rushing out the door and then they come back early and they wont go out again because they're afraid of leaving the house."

He described a situation where an elderly neighbour had been harassed by the young men who banged on the window of his front room, screaming and swearing at him as he sat inside.

The group had settled in front of the neighbour's home and were resting cans of cider on his window ledge but when he came out of his house and asked the men to leave they did not move. He then threw one of the cans away into the street and went inside.

A 69-year-old woman who also asked not to be named, said the situation had become "ridiculous".

"It's terrible round here with some of these lads and girls," she said. "I'm just getting fed up it. While you are watching television they're outside stealing your pipes."

Other instances involved the vandals breaking the windows of a home and flipping over bins to spread rubbish across the street.

The male witness said he had also seen the group appearing to buy drugs from a car which he had also spotted in other nearby streets.

He said: "They are always on the phone waiting, then all of a sudden they will put the phone down and walk off.

"I've seen a black car. Once I was coming back from the shops and I saw it stop and a girl run out and lean through the window, she got something and then shot off."

Several years ago after problems with vandals climbing on the roofs of the bungalows, police placed a CCTV in a position to watch the street.

It appeared to improve the situation but was eventually removed and one of the anonymous asked it to be replaced.

Officers have stepped up patrols in the area in response to the issues.

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Some residents have complained about the problems to Bolton at Home, the housing association which owns the properties.

A spokesman from the organisation said: “We are aware of recent reports of nuisance in the area.

“We are working in partnership with the police to monitor the situation and collate evidence. Police are regularly patrolling the area and our Sustaining Tenancy Advisor is in regular contact with local residents.

“We would encourage anyone to report incidents of crime to the police and report any anti-social behaviour to our neighbourhood safety team.”

To report anti-social behaviour or vandalism to the police, call 101 or use the Live Chat feature on www.gmp.police.uk.

Tackling anti-social behaviour

Police are increasingly working to tackle the ongoing problem of vandalism across Bolton.

These sort of issues include aggressive and destructive activities that intimidate, threaten or causes distress.

GMP says anti-social behaviour holds back regeneration of disadvantage areas and creates an environment which breeds other types of crime.

Examples of antisocial behaviour provided by GMP include: 

  • Rowdy, noisy behaviour
  •  ‘Yobbish’ behaviour
  •  Dealing or buying drugs on the street
  •  Aggressive begging
  •  Street drinking
  •  Setting-off fireworks late at night
  •  Vandalism, graffiti and fly-posting
  •  Fly-tipping rubbish
  •  Street prostitution

In an effort to stop these behaviours, police use one-off fines, penalty notices for disorder, parenting orders - which put pressure on parents to make sure the child attends school - individual support orders to tackle the underlying causes of antisocial behaviour and orders which specifically ban making loud noises.

Crowds can also be removed through the use of dispersal notices if large groups repeatedly gather in a particular area.

In more extreme situations homes or businesses can be forced to close, individuals can be arrested and jail sentences can be ordered.