Angry Doncaster residents to attend public meeting about town's crime wave

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones will be at the meeting tonight
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones will be at the meeting tonight

Residents of a Doncaster town will meet with South Yorkshire Police in a bid to stamp out a crime wave which is plaguing the area.

Askern residents who are reporting street drug deals, nightly break-ins and antisocial behaviour can air their concerns at the Partners and Communities Together meeting tonight.

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones will attend the meeting at Askern Library from 6pm.

Angry residents, fed up with the problems in their once-quiet neighbourhood, are expected to attend en masse.

A resident, who wanted to only be known as John, said the community knew who was responsible for much of the trouble in the town.

“There have been many burglaries recently, and it seems the perpetrator is known to everyone, but he is still seen wandering the town,” he said.

“The police seem more intent on stopping young lads in cars than patrolling residential and shopping/public areas.”

One man, who did not want to disclose his name, said he would follow the outcome closely.

The man, who couldn’t attend because of a broken foot, was burgled while on holiday in Majorca in July.

Among the items stolen from his property was a 55-inch television, games console, rug, toaster and kettle.

The thieves also stole jars of loose change from around the house.

“They even took my aftershave,” the man said.

The robbery happened in broad daylight.

“Nobody saw a thing and nobody heard a thing,” he said.

He said he knew of trouble in the town every day.

“Somebody’s house is broken into, cars are stolen or broken into every day and night,” he said.

He said it was the worst he had seen the town.

“And I’ve lived here all my life,” the man said.

A business owner, whose hair salon has twice been raided, said addicts walked past her door every day on the way to the local chemist to get methadone.

“They’re not local people,” she said.

“They are people who have been put in the area.”

Her two experiences with thefts have been ‘soul-destroying’, she said.

“You’re trying to build up a business, and people think they can come and take whatever they want,” she said.

The burglaries had cost her about £2,000 in stock loss and damages.

She put a £1,500 shutter on the front of the premises after they broke in through the front door.

That failed to deter the thieves, who broke in through a fire exit in the second robbery.

The woman bemoaned a lack of police presence in the town, but said she understood the position the forces were in.

“When I spoke to the police after what I went through, they were just as frustrated as me,” she said.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband will also attend tonight’s meeting, a spokesperson confirmed.

Acting Inspector Dave Jones, of the Doncaster West neighbourhood area, encouraged residents to attend.

“We are aware there a number of concerns that have been raised by the local community including antisocial behaviour, drugs and burglary," he said.

“There are already measures in place including patrols in areas identified as hotspots for burglary and we are looking into identifying specific areas of concern and highlighting how together with partner agencies, we can address and deal with other issues.

“The Force has also just reintroduced Neighbourhood policing across the county. Residents will be encouraged to come and meet with their new team at drop in surgeries and events, to offer our reassurance that we are committed and dedicated in making their neighbourhood safe and taking action to resolve any issues.”