MARAUDING gangs of teenagers are plaguing the lives of residents on a “hell hole” estate described as “Little Beirut”.
Locals fear little is being done to tackle their terrifying behaviour – with one pensioner so scared of being catapulted with rocks he has built a fort around his home.
Lampposts have been unearthed during the campaign of terror, as well as cop cars having their brakes cut and balaclava-clad thugs lobbing bricks at houses.
Families living in Enderby Gardens in Hemlington, Middlesbrough, have also had to put up with shattered glass constantly sprawled across the pavements and burnt grass left over from deliberate fires.
Things are so bad that locals claim even police are too scared to act.
One terrified parent said: “I’ve had to stand out at night and keep guard so they don’t smash out windows.
“We’ve had to use our son’s walkie talkies that he got for Christmas. He’s barely had a chance to play with them.
“They broke our bathroom window while our son was in the bath so he was terrified.
“The police don’t do anything, they don’t even try.”
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Walking around the run-down estate, rope can be seen at the base of lampposts surrounded by skid marks where teens have dragged them down and plunged the treet into darkness.
It is understood the posts have not long been repaired, but residents say it has done little to improve the appearance on the area.
Many properties have boarded up windows and are covered in graffiti.
Others have resorted to protecting their homes with makeshift shields.
An OAP, who has lived in the area for two years, has put up netting to defend himself from youngsters with catapults.
And mum Victoria Fairbridge last month barricaded her family inside their home after yobs threatened to “beat the disabled” out her son.
Most residents are so fearful of reprisal they refused to be named, and some would only speak in hushed voices behind closed doors.
‘WE ARE TERRIFIED’
One petrified neighbour said: “They hang around in gangs. It gets to about half four and they’re out.
“They’ve started pulling down lamp posts, they use rope. I don’t know how they have the strength.
“I think they’re doing it so they can get away with more.
“We are terrified, we don’t leave the house anymore and spend most weekends and summers away.
“The other night, the kids chased BBC Panorama film crew out by throwing bricks at their cars.”
Another parent said: “My children used to play out in the garden, we had a trampoline but I don’t even put it up now because they’re too scared.
“My six-year-old cried at the play park the other day because he didn’t want to come home he’s so terrified of them.
“When I complained to the police I was told to move, which I can’t afford.
“We even put shields over our windows but it didn’t work as they were broken too. It’s a hell hole.
“The police are only round the corner but it takes them three days to come out after every incident.”
A passerby who visits the estate to look after their friend’s children added: “The youths even cut the brakes on a police car.
“They aren’t scared of the police. When I was young the police were respected but they aren’t now.
“If you drive around here the kids put your windows out so I had to wait until midnight when it was safe to bring them back.
“I’ve also seen teenagers throw snowballs with stones in at people guarding their homes. You could put someone’s eye out doing that.”
They broke our bathroom window while our son was in the bath so he was terrified.
One former resident, qui “got out” of the scruffy estate four years ago, described the behaviour as “intimidating”.
“They congregate and intimidate people. They pull lamp posts out and smash
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“They kicked someone’s fence in the other week, her car was in the drive, elles ou ils
don’t care about being caught.
“Some people have put 47 years into their home and it gets destroyed by the
“The police are scared of the teenagers because they don’t want to get stabbed.”
One of the most violent incidents saw a man suffer brain damage after a group of six or seven-year-olds hurled bricks at his house, a tradesman said.
But there have also been stabbings, shootings and arson in the area – with tearing down lampposts the “latest craze”.
A dog walker said: “They pulled a few out and left us in complete darkness.
“My biggest thing is the smashed glass on the pavement as I walk my dog and it’s bad for her.
“They steal bins from time to time as well.”
‘WEEKS OF TROUBLE’
And another local said: “They smash windows and hang around the place.
“It’s because they don’t have anything to do. If they opened youth centres they would have somewhere to go.
“It’s been okay for a while but sometimes it’s fine and then you have a few weeks of trouble.”
A dispersal order was in force for the area, previously dubbed “Little Beirut” earlier this week and it has been renewed to cover from 4pm on January 28 to 4pm on January 30.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson added: “We are working closely with the local council, housing providers, children’s services and anti-social behaviour teams within a multi-agency plan to solve problems in Hemlington.
“Our neighbourhood policing teams are gathering intelligence on crime through their patrols, and are committed to working with residents to reduce crime and keep the streets safe over the long term.”
Middlesbrough Council has been approached for comment.