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Residents hit back at football claims

PUBLISHED: 19:58 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 14:33 14 July 2010

People living on an Attleborough estate have hit back at allegations that the anti-social behaviour of local children is making other residents' lives a misery.

People living on an Attleborough estate have hit back at allegations that the anti-social behaviour of local children is making other residents' lives a misery.

The issue centres on a long-standing wrangle over whether youngsters should be allowed to play ball games in the street outside homes in Ferguson Way.

Resident Georgeta Brock highlighted the issue at a recent town council meeting.

She claims that children trample over gardens, knock on windows and doors, make obscene gestures and are verbally abusive, and she and husband Don have contacted the district council and police about the problem. Another couple has found the situation so stressful they have left home and taken refuge with family and friends.

“For years and years we had this problem with children playing football in the street to the annoyance of most of us, because the ball bounces in everybody's front garden, on doors, and windows, cars or plants. Talking to the parents is a waste of time, they don't see anything wrong with their kids trampling all over private properties without the consent of the owners,” she explained.

Mrs Brock and her husband Don, 75, have contacted the police and district council to complain, as well as spending more than £700 installing CCTV cameras at their home as a deterrent.

However parents Rachel and Rikki Tripp , who also live in the close, say that meetings have been held to try and resolve the dispute - and that it is a small minority of residents who object to the youngsters' playing football.

“We have had problems with just two of our neighbours - there are roughly 29 houses here - regarding the playing of football in the close. Understandably they were upset with the football rolling onto their gardens, so after a meeting or two it was agreed that if the children play with a sponge ball the football could continue.

“It appears this still wasn't good enough, and ever since the children have been subject to verbal abuse and face pulling from windows and the police called every time the football comes out,” Mrs Tripp explained.

The couple commended local police and community support officers who “have remained neutral but fair to both parties throughout the whole affair”.

Fifteen-year-old Charly Bustin, who lives at the close, has also contacted the Mercury to voice her dismay at the allegations.

“We live in a lovely 'fairly' quiet close and when the children are outside playing you can hear them, but it is the sound of children playing not the sound of seven and eight-year-old yobs drinking and swearing. Never has there been an occasion where the children on our close have used, let alone left empty alcohol cans lying around, nor have we had any complaints regarding vandalism.

“I am upset that people who have read the article will paint the wrong picture of our close. I want people to understand that, for once, it's not the kids,” she said.

A police spokesman said: “This is exactly the type of feedback we welcome at our safer neighbourhood team events and one of the key reasons why the teams attend public events. We commend members of the public for letting us know about the issues that affect their local communities and for keeping us informed. Regular contact with the public on such issues as anti-social behaviour is very important to us and enables us to address those issues and take appropriate action.”

He added: “In relation to anti-social behaviour at Ferguson Way, I can confirm we have had a small number of calls relating to youths playing football in the street. Officers have attended and spoken to the youngsters.

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