Slovaks dumping dispute in Doncaster village

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Residents of a Doncaster village gathered in force to demand more action to stamp out anti-social behaviour and rubbish dumping they blame on an influx of immigrants.

More than 120 people packed into St Jude’s Church at Hexthorpe for a Police and Communities Together meeting.

Householders told police and council officers they felt ‘let down’ and said Hexthorpe should not be a ‘dumping ground’.

Hundreds of Roma people from Slovakia have moved to the area in recent years and locals blame them for a big increase in nuisance behaviour and fly tipping.

In the past three weeks Doncaster Council has shifted 24 tonnes of rubbish from the village’s streets.

Although a four-week crackdown started this week, the residents were not convinced it would work in the long-term.

Karen Hanson, head of environmental control at the council, said 11 tonnes of rubbish had been collected this week and 22 fixed penalty notices issued for littering.

Another 34 notices were issued in relation to untidy gardens and 15 noise complaints are being investigated.

Officers are also carrying out benefit checks on tenants in private rented accommodation and working with the Home Office on immigration enforcement.

South Yorkshire Police have sent in extra patrols until midnight every day and some vehicles have been confiscated for having no tax or for their drivers being uninsured.

Residents who spoke up complained of rotting meat being left in alleyways, police failing to respond to alleged assaults, and groups of up to 30 people wandering the streets in the early hours ‘singing their heads off’.

One man, to applause, said: “It feels like we’ve been passed from pillar to post with no resolution.

“There are loads of people saying the police are not treating us with the respect we deserve. Hexthorpe is being let down and we’ve lost faith in you.”

A woman said people ‘are going to take the law into their own hands’ and another wanted to know why no-one from the Roma community had attended the meeting to hear residents’ concerns.

Paul Adams, spokesman for the Hexthorpe and Balby Residents’ Group, said: “This has caused a lot of stress and you have seen the visible evidence of that.

“The behaviour is something that has to be addressed. 
“The Roma Slovaks have to understand how we live in England if they want to live here.

“The issue is their behaviour. They have to understand what is expected of people living in our village.”

It is believed there are about 500 Slovaks living in Hexhorpe, most of them in private rented accommodation, with none in council properties.

Deputy Mayor Glyn Jones told the meeting private landlords were ‘dragging Hexthorpe down’.

“That’s one of the most vital things to ensure landlords and tenants are meeting their civic responsibilities. But it’s not just here, it’s in Balby, Bentley and Wheatley as well, but this appears to be the largest concentration.

“I’ve seen the issues caused by groups of people, young and old, milling about. 
“The police and council cannot solve this alone. You have to have dialogue with them.”