‘Community pact’ plan to calm street hellraisers

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FOR seven years, Darfield’s Maran Avenue has been a battlefield!

And a public meeting was told how residents have been left COWERING – in the face of street rows, boozing, drug peddling and all-night music.

Cops told a Police and Community Together (PACT) meeting that just FIVE households were responsible for the niusance. But they have been unable to stamp it out.

The Wombwell meeting was told that a new peace-restoring bid is being launched by Barnsley Council and its Berneslai Homes housing management company.

They are to invite residents to sign a trailblazing “community agreement”.

The pact will demand a “code of behaviour” approved by all – and it will carry penalties if breached.

Emma Batty of Berneslai Homes told the meeting it was a plan of last resort.

She said: “We will write to everyone and see what comes back. They have all got to be willing”.

But locals are not convinced the move will work. They asked not to be named, but after the meeting, they told the Times how:

* Kids in balaclavas hurl bricks at their doors, while adults scream and swear in front of their homes

* Fencing is ripped down, car windows are broken and

* And rows over street parking are followed by threats of violence.

One said: “If people sign it – and there’s no saying they will – will there be any teeth at the back of it? I can’t see it having an effect at all.”

Another said that on Barnsley Council’s advice, she had kept an “incident diary” over the seven years... in which, among other things, she records a man pacing the street with a claw hammer!

And a woman who grew up on the street of semis, said: “It was once a lovely street. It was friendly and peaceful.

“It’s a dead end, so we don’t get through traffic and it’s out of the way – we’ve got rural views and everything. As kids, we all played out in the park and all around the neighbourhood. There was never any trouble.

“But it’s all changed and there’s little we can do. No matter how bad it is, nothing gets done.

“It’s the families with small kiddies I feel sorry for. They must get woken all the time by music and shouting.

“Just a handful of people are causing misery for everybody else – and we’re stuck with it.”

Residents told the Times that a short-term installation of CCTV cameras last Christmas DID bring some relief. Then, when the cameras left, the scrapping returned, they said.

But Wombwell SNT Sgt, Phil Jenkinson, promised the PACT meeting that the street would remain a police priority.