A frightened family today exposed a catalogue of crime and anti-social behaviour they have been forced to live with, after a charity housed homeless tenants in a neighbouring house.
Julie and Paul Sindall say their lives were made a misery when Methodist Action North West placed a problem tenant in a multi-occupancy property opposite their terraced house off Fishergate Hill, Preston.
The couple, who have a five-year-old son, have shared a damning dossier of footage they have kept over eight months, as the Evening Post learns police and residents have had issues with tenants in two other MANW properties in the city.
The last straw came when Julie was verbally threatened by a drug addict on their doorstep.
The tenant has now been evicted, but the couple are frightened of who will be placed there next, and have told their story in the hope it will stop the organisation involved placing other problem tenants in the property.
Paul said: “The tenant has now been evicted, which has helped the situation greatly, but we still have concerns about potential future tenants. A couple of days after the court case, we returned home to find he had been booted out and the door boarded up.”
For the last year they spent most evenings drowsily standing by their bedroom window to capture anti- social behaviour on their phones, their attempt to sleep hampered by screeching cars, shouting, swearing, loud music and hammering on the door of the flat opposite.
Julie went to her GP as a result of a lack of sleep. Some weeks she and their little boy would decamp to her mother’s in Lancaster, too afraid to stay in the house alone when Paul was away for work purposes. It means the hairdresser sometimes drove more than 300 miles a week, just to take her son to school in Longton and bring him back.
The couple had six months of trouble before being advised to keep a video and dossier. They recorded around 60 incidents, since September 2012.
But at first the case went to court – minus their evidence – and was thrown out. Paul, 36, who works at Salford University, said: “Julie has rang me in tears at work saying we need to move. I couldn’t concentrate at work and I worried.
Julie, 34, added: “We did consider moving but we love our home and have worked hard for it, why should we have to move?”
The couple settled in Preston four and a half years ago with their son. They researched the area with the police to check there were no anti-social behaviour problems. But two years ago, the house opposite was bought and turned into four self-contained flats, used by Methodist Action North West to house vulnerable people.
The Evening Post understands all four flats in the house are let out to their tenants. MANW is involved with at least 20 properties in the city that house their tenants. A police source revealed there are issues with tenants in at least two other properties.
In response to the Sindall’s problems, Nigel Francis, CEO of Methodist Action, said it endeavours to “manage properties in harmony with local communities”. He said: “I will ensure all is being done to resolve the situation in a timely manner. We take the concerns seriously and will take appropriate actions. The charity works in close partnership with local authorities to provide appropriate accommodation for the people of the area.
“We follow best practice and legal process.”