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Man on Croydon estate ‘beaten up’ for asking teens to stop loitering in laundry room

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Residents of blocks in Gillett Road told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the problem had intensified in recent months with some now scared to leave their flats after a “massive knife” was discovered on the stairs.

They want Croydon Council to take action to protect them in their own homes.

As well as the fear of violence, families living in the block have to regularly face human excrement, vomit and blood in the stairwells and lifts.

Your Local Guardian: Police have increased patrols around Gillett RoadPolice have increased patrols around Gillett Road

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On May 14, Mr Williams, who declined to give his first name, saw teenagers in one of the block’s laundry rooms.

They had been there just a few days earlier and trashed the place causing him to “throw them out”, he claims.

The 59-year-old said: “I was coming into the building and I saw people in the laundry room, they rushed out when they saw me to fight me.

“I got out of the back door then they tripped me up and started stomping all over me.”

Your Local Guardian: Residents were scared when a knife was discovered in the stairwellResidents were scared when a knife was discovered in the stairwell

Mr Williams was left with nasty grazing to his left arm and the side of his head and was also injured on his wrist and hip.

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He added: “I do not feel like I’m safe in my own home now. I told my tenancy officer that I am not happy; as a consequence of her not answering the email [in which I raised concerns], this has happened.”

He sent an email to his Croydon Council tenancy officer on February 8, which was a follow up to one sent on January 13 and claims he had no response.

Since the incident, police have increased patrols in the area but enquiries are still ongoing.

He said: “I feel angry they didn’t do anything. I could have been killed, or somebody else could have been killed.

“I just want them to make it safe for us. If this was Richmond or Barnes it would have been a different story.”

Residents say while Croydon Council has repaired a faulty front door the back door of the block can be pulled open easily meaning the stairwell is full of drug addicts and dealers every evening.

Your Local Guardian: The block of flats in Gillett RoadThe block of flats in Gillett Road

Serena Blackman has lived in the block for five years with her eight-year-old son in what was supposed to be a “temporary” placement.

She said: “It is awful and very scary. Knives have been found in the stairwell and I have seen human faeces and blood on the stairs.

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“There have been days where the lifts have been out so we have to walk up the stairs.

“I don’t feel safe at all, especially now I have new neighbours who are clearly on drugs, they keep us up most nights.”

Debra Pring, who has lived in the block for a year, thinks Croydon Council should not be placing vulnerable drug addicts in the block.

She said: “The council have evicted two or three people but the problem of people getting into the block isn’t completely able to be solved.

“On Saturday there was a massive knife on the stairs, that was the point I thought ‘I’m not coming out of the flat’.

“I can’t come down because it is dangerous, that is when it gets unacceptable.

“During the day it is teenagers, people smoking weed then when it gets to 6 or 7pm it is exclusively drug addicts and dealers. 

“There was a gang that would come and drop drugs into the rubbish cupboard.

“There are people in these blocks who are known drug dealers. I understand there are processes, you cant just get rid of them, but my issue is they shouldn’t be put there in the first place, it is not the right place for them.

“The minute you start dumping crack heads you are failing them and the existing tenants.”

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A spokesperson for the Met Police said the force was called to the block the day after the assault on Mr Williams (May 15).

They added: “Officers attended and spoke to a man who said the previous evening he was approached by a group of young people after he entered his block of flats.

“He attempted to leave but was attacked by the group, leaving him with cuts and bruises.

“Enquiries into the incident remain ongoing.

“Safer neighbour officers are aware of ongoing issues in the area. They are continuing to monitor the situation and increasing local patrols.”

Croydon Council was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

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