Violent drug dealers and addicts at a Brighton estate have left residents so frightened that some said they were too scared to go to a community meeting.
Those who went said they had suffered violent attacks and intimidation at the Craven Vale estate, and even felt unsafe in their own homes.
There has recently been an escalation of threats and violence, officials from Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council said.
They urged the police and council to do more to maintain order and public safety at a meeting at the estate on Wednesday.
And they also said that a nightmare neighbor – the person causing the greatest fear – walked around behind the community center wearing a mask during the meeting, despite the police presence.
Neighbors said he allegedly always had a knife with him.
They also said that while one person is causing many of the current problems, at least seven other apartment blocks were affected by drug use and antisocial behavior.
And they asked why drug dealers and addicts were housed on the property.
One resident said: “Imagine that you are sitting in your apartment now and do not want to go where there are many people, including the police.
“These people don’t want to leave the house to help the police because they’re so scared of him. This is absolutely disgusting.”
Police and council officials were told drug dealers were in and out of the apartment where their nightmarish neighbor lived.
Local residents said he smashed other neighbors’ windows in with bricks and kicked in front doors and tried to break through others with screwdrivers and hammers. He destroyed his own front door by sawing it in half.
On one occasion, he was seen holding a large knife and stabbing a hedge, saying, “I’m going to cut you all open.”
On another occasion, a 999 operator heard airgun bullets ricochet around the property as he fired shots at passers-by.
The meeting was told that the police were attacked upon arrival and had to call for reinforcements. In response, Craven Vale was “blue lit” with police lights.
After the shooting, while the nightmare neighbor was in custody, a resident said there was a different vibe to the property. Many older people felt comfortable leaving their homes for a walk.
The nightmare neighbor is said to have support for issues with his mental health but has the “ability” to make decisions and is unlikely to fall under the Mental Health Act, the meeting was told.
One resident said: “You cannot use mental health as an excuse to hold an entire estate for ransom and make everyone else’s life an absolute misery.”
The same resident added: “I was in tears one day because of what is going on. I’m at the point where I’m petrified of going out.
“Here we live. This is not the city center. It’s our houses. When I come home and lock my front door, I want to be safe.”
Another neighbor said: “We shouldn’t have to live like this. I shouldn’t put up with that. I love it here, but I’m scared to go out.”
Craven Vale residents said cops had told them their nightmare neighbor was “well known” to police.
A petition signed by 75 people was taken to Deputy Director of the Housing Needs and Supply Council Paul Cooper asking for action.
The petitioners urged the council to use the Anti-Social Behavior Crime and Policing Act 2014 to issue criminal behavior orders and closure orders in the manner intended by the Act – and community protection orders to address anti-social behaviour.
They were told the council is currently only using these orders to deal with people in temporary accommodation, not people on full leases.
Mr Cooper said the council and police are in the process of getting a closure order from the magistrates’ court and moving the nightmarish neighbor elsewhere.
Council records showed the anti-social tenant had lived in emergency shelter for four years without complaint.
Mr Cooper said: “It sounds awful. From what I’ve heard, I think the residents have shown incredible courage and resilience. Even now you are calm and I can imagine you want to scream.
“We’re looking for the quickest way to take action (and) a closure order is the quickest way to get a result.”
And he said alternative accommodation was available.
Labor Councilor Gill Williams attended the meeting remotely. She said: “Counsellor (Nancy) Platts and I have been reporting disturbing incidents that have been affecting residents of Craven Vale for some time.
“It is totally unacceptable for this beautiful community to suffer fear and trauma.”
Police advised residents to call 999 if they felt in danger.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23047654.craven-vale-estate-neighbours-fear-drug-dealers-addicts/?ref=rss Craven Vale Estate: Neighbors fear drug dealers and addicts