Sandridge man suffers sleepless night because of nuisance neighbour

PUBLISHED: 12:24 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:24 12 April 2018

Alan Easterbrook.

Alan Easterbrook.

Archant

Anti-social behaviour and drug abuse allegedly caused by council tenants in a Sandridge neighbourhood are devastating their neighbours’ lives.

The Sandridge village sign on St Albans Road. Picture: DANNY LOOThe Sandridge village sign on St Albans Road. Picture: DANNY LOO

The situation has grown so bad that one resident’s doctor has warned the district council his patient could have a “major mental breakdown” if his nuisance neighbour is not dealt with.

Alan Easterbrook, who played for St Albans City FC in the 1970s, said: “The council is more concerned with protecting the tenants who cause the problems than the people around them.

“The situation bought us all together as a community, but after everything we have done, and getting nothing in return, everyone has turned against each other.”

Mr Easterbrook’s doctor sent a letter to St Albans council’s housing department warning his patient could suffer a major mental breakdown if the problems are not sorted swiftly.

The contractor, who has previously worked at the Marlborough Almshouses on Hatfield Road, has resorted to wax earplugs and leaving an air conditioning unit running all night to try to cancel out the tenants’ disruptive shouting.

Around eight people have come forward about the problem, including an elderly woman who lives near to Mr Easterbrook, who said: “I did not expect to have these disturbances happening in my retirement. I’m woken regularly in the early hours by swearing and shouting.”

Another of the neighbours said: “It has affected my family and I by being woken up at all hours. The drug taking is bringing the smell into my home and my child found a bag at the end of our pathway and asked what it was.

“The noise does not bother me, but it wakes my children up and they have to go to school.”

“It’s very stressful,” said another, “I am having to go for counselling as I was already suffering with depression and anxiety and this has increased that.

“It’s very intimidating and you feel you do not want to live there, whereas it used to be very peaceful.”

Herts police and St Albans council have met with Mr Easterbrook and other residents to discuss the situation, and district councillors Beric Read and Frances Leonard are also monitoring the issue in contact with the residents.

In addition, Sandridge Parish Council has written to Hertfordshire’s Chief Constable Charlie Hall about the anti-social behaviour.

The letter, written by parish clerk Simon Thwaites, said: “Councillors are very concerned about the continued illegal activities at this location and ask that a full review is made of what actions have been taken to date with a view to bringing activities to an end for long-suffering residents nearby. I will also be writing to the housing authority in this regard.”

The residents have also asked for a meeting with the Chief Constable.

Mr Easterbrook said the police carried out a drugs raid on the tenants’ properties, but did not find anything, and they have since apologised to him for getting the operaiton wrong.

A Herts police spokesperson said: “We will always investigate allegations of crime and would urge anyone who believes crime is taking place in their neighbourhood to report it to police so we can build an intelligence picture and take action where appropriate.

“You can report information online at www.herts.police.uk/report or call the non-emergency number 101.

“If you’d prefer to provide information anonymously call the independent crime-fighting charity on 0800 555 111 or submit details through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

“If there is a crime in progress always dial 999.”

St Albans council’s head of housing Karen Dragovic said: “When tenants sign our tenancy agreements they agree not to carry out any form of anti-social behaviour at their property or to use it for illegal activities.

“We will always investigate complaints about our tenants that relate to anti-social behaviour, including illegal activities and excessive noise.

“Where appropriate, we will work with the police if the allegations relate to illegal activities. We will take legal action to re-possess a property if there is sufficient evidence to show that the terms of the tenancy agreement have been breached.”

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