Residents 'prisoners in own homes' amid rise in drugs and crime

A group of Newton residents say they have almost given up trying to get authorities to tackle the problems they say have left people scared.

Newton residents blast police and South Ayrshire Council amid escalating drug use and crime in community Getty Images

Residents in an Ayr community say they are becoming prisoners in their own home, claiming the neighbourhood is becoming a den for drug dealers and crime.

A group of Newton residents say they have almost given up trying to get the authorities to tackle the problems they say have left people scared to go out and about – both day and night.

One elderly resident, who has lived in Newton all her life is in hospital as she is terrified of going back home, according to Newton Tenants and Residents Association.

The Association say that they have been trying to get police and South Ayrshire Council to address the problems they say have rocketed over the last couple of years.

Residents are terrified that a child could be hurt by syringes thrown out onto Newton streets.LDRS

Now they say that the police and council will meet them after the Local Democracy Reporting Service got in touch with the authorities.

Despite this, South Ayrshire Council says that the number of complaints they have received is small.

The group say they have handed over evidence, including videos and photographs, to police. But they say that the force is turning a blind eye to the issues despite them taking place on the doorstep of their new Ayr headquarters at Newton House.

The association said that the problems have become more pronounced in the last year or so, claiming that there are five drug dealers moving into the area.

They say they have been left to deal with violence, drugs openly dealt in broad daylight, syringes strewn where kids play, break ins and other anti social behaviour – from people taking heroin in public and neighbours being forced to navigate people passed out in common closes to others having sex in public.

Residents claim that people regularly use drugs in the streets during the day.LDRS

The area was likened to a shopping centre for drugs by a spokesperson for the association.

They said: “They are queuing up to dealers and nobody is doing anything about it.

“Our biggest fear is that one of the weans touches a needle that has been left lying around.”

Residents said they felt the authorities were being disingenuous when they go to them for help.

“They try to say ‘oh we didn’t know about that one. But we have been telling them about these things for a year and a half.”

“When they come to the association meetings they tell us that they can’t say much themselves and tell us we should just keep on phoning.

“But we have phoned hundreds of times and nothing happens. It is the same with the council. When a council official comes along to a meeting all they do is say that they will pass it on.

“Even when they said they would put on more patrols that only lasted a few weeks. They have done nothing.”

South Ayrshire Council say they opened five antisocial behaviour cases in the area for investigation in the last 12 months with three still open and being monitored.

When asked about residents complaining about the response from council officers at their meetings, the spokesperson said: “When Newton Residents Association raise concerns about alleged anti-social behaviour at their meetings, they are provided with advice from Council Officers on how to formally report incidents.”

Asked if there had been an increase in complaints over the last year, the spokesperson said: “The numbers of complaints actually reported to the Council are small. We would encourage the community to actively report any issues.

Addressing concerns around the denial of a request to site mobile CCTV in Taylor Street, they said: “Our Community Safety Team is not currently dealing with any complaints in the area, however they have carried out an anti-dog fouling campaign in response to issues raised in the past.

“Mobile CCTV has also been deployed in the area in the past. We have previously advised the group that they should formally report issues to make a case for additional CCTV deployment.”

Asked if they could give any assurances to the people who feel unsafe, the spokesperson said: “We would like to remind the community to formally report any issues of anti-social behaviour so they can be investigated. Any criminality should be reported to the police.”

Chief Inspector Kevin Lammie, Area Commander for South Ayrshire said: “South Ayrshire Police work in partnership with a number of partners to support local communities throughout the area to address local concerns and crimes that are reported to us.

“We frequently carry out targeted operations and high visibility patrols when matters are raised with officers and anyone with concerns or information they would like to share or discuss regarding their community is asked to contact local police via 101, or email contactus.

“In an emergency please contact 999. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555 111, where anonymity can be maintained.”

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