'Enough is enough' say elderly after arson and violence on Mirfield street

Elderly and poorly tenants living on a quiet Mirfield cul-de-sac continue to be plagued with anti-social behaviour more than six months after begging housing chiefs to intervene.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 1:30 pm
Bankfield Court in Mirfield, where elderly residents have been plagued by anti-social behaviour including arson.
Bankfield Court in Mirfield, where elderly residents have been plagued by anti-social behaviour including arson.

Now they say they have had enough. They say West Yorkshire Police have been ineffective and promises of intervention by Kirklees Council have come to nothing.

One elderly tenant said: “We are all suffering here. It seems the victims suffer and the guy causing all the problems is getting away with it.”

Police and other emergency services are regularly called to Bankfield Court, which is lined with bungalows and flats built for the over 60s.

The shocking catalogue of incidents includes arson, cars attacked with a hammer and a crow bar, and a pensioner injured by being shoved head-first into a wall.

Other “bizarre” behaviour includes personal items being thrown from a landing window into a shared area used for hanging washing, and roads being barricaded with bins.

One man is said to be responsible. He is also said to have sent obscene texts to a woman’s phone, driven at high speed on the narrow street and made threats to kill neighbours.

However, while Kirklees Council is working behind the scenes to resolve the situation the authority is limited in its response as the man causing the problems is not a council tenant and so cannot be evicted.

The council’s homes and neighbourhoods department is aware of tenants’ concerns with an officer writing to residents to say: “It does appear that the number of incidents has reduced recently.

“However, we are aware that the police are continuing with investigations into criminal incidents.”

But one frustrated tenant responded: “It has not quietened down at all. The man was taken away in handcuffs [last month], for racial abuse and abuse against the disabled.

“He is currently on police bail.

“Things are getting worse, not better. Enough is enough.”

They said the communication between the council, the police and Safer Kirklees was “non-existent”.

Speaking last winter, the council’s cabinet member for housing and democracy, Coun Cathy Scott, said there was a legal process to be followed before action could be taken, and the council shared residents’ frustrations.

This week she gave an assurance that the council was meeting with partner services, including the police, but stressed: “The council is limited in its powers in terms of what it can do.

“We cannot simply evict him.”

Local councillor Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said: “I am beyond exasperated that Kirklees Council has not used its powers, influence and resources to bring this matter to a conclusion and to protect vulnerable neighbours, tenants and residents.

“We need immediate action. This has now gone on long enough.”