Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by QASIM PERACHA qasim.peracha@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @qasim­per­acha

De­liv­ery driv­ers don’t come here any more – they’re too afraid A res­i­dent of Yead­ing’s Wil­low Tree Lane es­tate

A RES­I­DENT of Yead­ing’s Wil­low Tree Lane Es­tate has claimed she can­not get a take­away de­liv­ered as driv­ers are “too afraid” to en­ter the es­tate.

The woman, who wished to re­main anony­mous, has lived on the es­tate for nearly 30 years and said it has changed dra­mat­i­cally since she moved there as a teenager.

“Every time I or­der a take­away I have to walk to the edge of the es­tate to pick it up,” she said. “De­liv­ery driv­ers don’t come here any­more, they’re too afraid.

“One told me the last time he came here, he had his head banged against his wall and they nicked his food and money.”

The es­tate in Yead­ing, flanked by Yead­ing Lane and The Park­way, is one of the most no­to­ri­ous ar­eas for crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, with one lo­cal brand­ing it “at least the worst es­tate in the bor­ough”.

While speak­ing to the Gazette, a lo­cal busi­ness­man pointed out of a win­dow to what ap­peared to be a drug deal tak­ing place, in plain sight.

“These guys mostly sell drugs to school kids,” he sighed. “They wait near the bus stop at school times and sell them weed.

“The other day there were two stab­bings out here in front of our door and at the mo­ment there’s a lot of gang ac­tiv­ity.

“The sit­u­a­tion here is way worse than I have ever seen. These peo­ple have bad at­ti­tudes and bad be­hav­iour and they are re­spon­si­ble for ru­in­ing this area.”

Yead­ing po­lice data from Novem­ber, the lat­est month for which data is avail­able, shows that 20 of the 33 stop and searches were car­ried out in and around the Wil­low Tree Lane Es­tate.

Mean­while, the most com­mon crime in Yead­ing was an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour, fol­lowed by vi­o­lent and sex­ual crimes.

A long-suf­fer­ing res­i­dent, whose chil­dren grew up on the es­tate, has said the area around her block can be so in­tim­i­dat­ing her chil­dren’s friends will not come to their home.

“My son’s friend only lives a cou­ple of min­utes away but he of­ten turns back half­way here and says it’s too dan­ger­ous,” she said.

“It’s very in­tim­i­dat­ing now, I am very aware of the sorts of things go­ing on around here and see peo­ple hang­ing around all the time in groups.

“There’s no com­mu­nity feel­ing here any­more. Not like there was when I was a kid here. The last time I felt any real com­mu­nity spirit on the es­tate was when we had a gar­den party for the Queen’s ju­bilee.”

In Novem­ber 2017, 132 crimes were com­mit­ted in Yead­ing ac­cord­ing to data pub­lished by po­lice.

Of these, around 50 in­ci­dents were on the es­tate it­self. The streets on and around the es­tate with the high­est num­ber of crimes in Novem­ber in­clude Dunedin Way (11) and Yead­ing Lane (eight), as well as Nor­cott Close (five) and Mase­field Lane (five).

A group of peo­ple work­ing at one of the busi­nesses in the area de­scribed the places as “ter­ri­ble” and “get­ting worse”.

“Peo­ple get stabbed, there’s gan­gre­lated crime, the shops get smashed into, cars get bro­ken into,” they said.

“Road clo­sures due to stab­bings have meant we can’t open our busi­ness, so we’ve had to close on more than a few oc­ca­sions.

“Dur­ing the day the place is cov­ered in un­de­sir­ables. By that I mean crack­heads and p***heads, sit­ting on the walls all day do­ing noth­ing but ask­ing for a quid.”

Ges­tur­ing to­wards the Wil­low Tree Round­about, a woman who lives nearby said she is in­tim­i­dated by al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and gath­er­ing of gangs by an un­der­pass, near the Wil­low Tree Lane Re­tail Park.

“I wouldn’t go down that un­der­pass in the day­light, let alone at night,” she said.

The sub­way in ques­tion was sub­ject to four stop and search op­er­a­tions in the month of Novem­ber and two of­fend­ers were given a drug pos­ses­sion warn­ing, while no drugs were found in the other two in­stances.

A drug pos­ses­sion warn­ing was also handed out in Mase­field Lane and a boy be­tween the age of 10 and 17 was ar­rested un­der the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

A man who has lived on the es­tate for more than 30 years feels there is a loss of com­mu­nity.

“The prob­lem is peo­ple have moved away and the new peo­ple have no in­ter­est in the area,” he said.

“There’s a lot of vi­o­lence in this area and there wasn’t when I move here more than 30 years ago.”

Op­er­a­tion Star­brook is a Yead­ing­wide joint ini­tia­tive be­tween lo­cal po­lice and Hilling­don Coun­cil to drive out crime and im­prove the area.

In De­cem­ber, this led to a crack­down on drugs, with some sus­pected deal­ers evicted from homes and oth­ers ar­rested.

The area has also re­ceived “sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced po­lice pa­trols” and a new ward panel has been set up by lo­cal safer neigh­bour­hood teams.

Speak­ing in De­cem­ber, a po­lice spokesper­son said: “As a re­sult of this ac­tiv­ity there has been a sig­nif­i­cant dis­place­ment of ASB and drug deal­ing away from Yead­ing and a con­se­quent re­duc­tion in crime from its peak in the sum­mer.”

None of the lo­cal take­aways con­tacted said they had ex­pe­ri­enced at­tacks and de­nied hav­ing “no go ar­eas”.

Hilling­don Coun­cil, which partly owns the es­tate, has been con­tacted for com­ment but had not re­sponded at the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

Is the WIl­low Tree Lane es­tate Hilling­don’s most dan­ger­ous?

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