RESIDENTS' PLEA OVER DRUGS ISSUES

A group of residents from a Forfar neighbourhood made their third, and what they hope will be their last, visit to Forfar Community Council this month in an attempt to rid their area of an anti-social tenant.

The residents spoke candidly of the problems they are facing round the clock and were promised a "round the table" meeting to be instigated by Angus Councillor Glennis Middleton to explore all avenues available to them.

The residents detailed how their lives had been blighted over the last ?ve years by one resident and the "constant drug running activities" taking place on their doorstep.

In a letter read out to the community council they explained that, regretfully, they found it necessary to once again raise the issue of the "appalling social environment in which we ?nd ourselves through no fault of our own."

They stated: "Over the past months the decent people of the area, who ask no more than to live a normal peaceful life in harmony with their neighbours, have found ourselves tormented by the constant drug running activities taking place on our doorstep.

"Both day and night there is a constant stream of youths shouting and hammering at doors and windows to gain access to a property well-known to the police.

"Because of the constant disturbance, this activity has been brought to the attention of the police on numerous occasions and, whether as a result of this reporting or through other means the police may have at their disposal, the police have attempted to address this situation. On some occasions raids have been conducted by the police who, at times, have had to gain entry by the use of a battering ram."

Arrests made

The residents stated that, whilst it was apparent arrests have been made and, they presumed, charges had been brought against the offenders, these efforts appeared to have had little or no effect on the perpetrators since, within hours of the police leaving the area, it was generally "back to business as usual" with cars frequenting the area, car engines revving, shouting etc.

They continued: "We have no doubt that, like ourselves, the police are doing their best to deal with the situation.

"However, it still continues, leaving residents, some quite elderly, feeling vulnerable to attacks from youths, constantly in a state of anxiety and fear and at times afraid to leave their own homes because they feel the area is being in?ltrated by thugs.

"To add to this anxiety, residents are unsure as to what exactly the current situation is with regard to any further action planned either by the police or other authorities regarding the continuing activities in general and in particular in relation to the house and resident in question.

"To help alleviate the genuine concern residents have over this matter, we would therefore be grateful if Forfar Community Council could raise the issues mentioned with the relevant parties and request from them an explanation as to how they intend to resolve this situation whereby decent people can once again have a normal existence."

The group also referred to the Antisocial Behaviour Enforceent Measures as outlined in the Angus Community Safety and Antisocial Behaviour Strategy and in particular the closure of premises.

It states a senior police officer can authorise that a closure notice is served on the premises if they have good reason to believe a person has been involved in antisocial behaviour on the premises within the last three months.

They can also issue a closure notice where the use of the premises is associated with signi?cant, continuous and serious nuisance or disorder.

Very serious

Commenting on the on-going situation facing the residents, community council chairman Mrs Isobel Ross said she had no doubt that theirs was a "very serious situation."

She said: "Everybody is entitled to live in peace. This is not a

recent thing for the people who are here tonight – this has been

going on for a number of years.

"It's not getting any better. I think we will have to write to

the two administration members who are not here tonight, and

to housing.

"People can't be expected to live like this.

"To me, this is the end of the line. Something has to be done

and somebody has to take responsibility. The town is full of

it."

Councillor Middleton added she was happy to set up a meet-

ing with the residents, a senior housing of?cer, hopefully the

head of housing or the director himself, to deal with the issue

"once and for all."

She pointed out other areas had suffered similar problems and a good strong residents' group can help.

She added: "We will try to work together to try to get some

peace."

Whilst Constable Ally Smith of Tayside Police refused to comment on individual cases, he urged council tenants living with similar issues to record as many complaints as necessary through the council's Access line.

He said: "Get them logged on the council system, and if numerous complaints come in about a particular tenant, then the council are then duty bound to do something about it."