GANGS of Asian youths are tormenting elderly and disabled people in Staincliffe with foul-mouthed racist abuse. Residents living in a cul-de-sac on the edge of Staincliffe Estate say they are at the end of their tether after months of abuse.
The youths, aged from about 15 upwards, start congregating in Manor Way, close to Manorfields Infants School, from 4.10pm and hang around for hours on end, often up to midnight. The yobs hurl abuse at passers-by, spitting racist comments at the elderly residents – all of whom are in their 70s and 80s. The gang also makes lewd suggestions to girls and young women and on Saturday mocked a disabled man and threatened to tip him out of his wheelchair. In the past street signs have been pulled down and bins overturned. Cars have also been vandalised. Police have been repeatedly called out but residents say nothing gets done.
Now the residents, most of whom are too afraid to speak out publicly, are fighting back. Residents’ spokesman Tony Gott, 71, said old people shouldn’t have to put up with the abuse. “It has gone too far,” he said. “People are at the end of their tether and don’t know where to turn. “No one should have to live their lives in fear like this and when we go out to ask these youths to move on all we get is abuse. “They called me a ‘fat, white bastard’ and the other day I was showered with a pile of bricks. “We had the police up here the other day and they spoke to this gang but they denied everything and the police said there was nothing they could do. “The police say ‘we’ve taken their names’ but all that is a slap on the wrist. It doesn’t stop them.”
Retired builder Mr Gott, who has four sons, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, has lived in the street for almost 15 years. On Saturday teatime Mr Gott heard the youths hurling abuse at a disabled man in a wheelchair who lives further down the estate. “They were wanting to have a fight with him so I went out and told them to stop picking on people in wheelchairs. “All I got was abuse and that it was nothing to do with me. They threatened to turn the wheelchair over. “The police think we are exaggerating but we are not. We are all poorly people up here and two of the residents have cancer. We just can’t go to bed and have a good night’s sleep anymore.”
The cul-de-sac is also a magnet for drug dealers and users who lurk in dark corners behind Manorfields school but it is the gangs that make residents most afraid. “I think there should be a curfew to get them off the streets,” said Mr Gott. “Something has to be done.”
Insp Neil Money, of the Batley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said they were aware of reports of abuse and anti-social behaviour in Manor Way and patrols had been stepped up. Officers were also using new ‘head cam’ video cameras. On Tuesday night four youths were picked up and taken home and their parents informed about their behaviour. Five other youths were also spoken to in the Mount Pleasant area and warned about their behaviour. Insp Money added: “We are working very closely with local schools, mosques, shopkeepers and our partner agencies in order to ensure that the quality of life for residents is improved. “I would urge anyone with information about such issues to contact the Batley NPT team on 01924 295301 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555 111.”