Preston apartment block "terrorised" by gang of drug-dealing teenagers

Worried residents say a gang of drug-dealing youths have turned a block of Preston flats into a “no-go zone”.

Saturday, 16th January 2021, 7:00 am

People who have been inside Medway House in Samuel Street, say residents are being terrorised by teenagers using flats to sell cocaine, heroin and for prostitution.

Only days ago, Preston’s Neigbourhood Policing Team Task Force raided Medway House and other flats in the ‘Seven Sisters’ complex in Samuel Street, and found “numerous items relating to drug dealing and violence”, including a large knife. One male was arrested.

Residents also claim human waste is piled up inside the building, and knives have been found hidden at the front and rear of the property.

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Drugs, drug equipment and weapons seized this week by police in Samuel Street, Preston. Photo courtesy of Lancashire Police.

A video posted to social media, seen by the Lancashire Post shows the communal staircase of the flats covered in litter, with the person filming, a resident, claiming “prisoners don’t live in these conditions”.

Preston Council’s Environmental Health team and the police say they are working with the landlord over the mess and anti-social behaviour.

But while arrests have been made, officers say it’s a wider issue than crime and “cannot be dealt with by the police alone”.

One local resident, who asked not to be named over fears of recrimination, said she has been in the flats and was shocked by what she saw.

Medway House, Samuel Street

She said: “The first thing that hits you is the smell. Human waste - both types - and rubbish literally everywhere. I walked two metres and there was a pile of human faeces next to a door.

”The local drug dealers, a gang of male youths have basically taken the block over. They’re terrorising the tenants. The person (who let me in) then began telling me that the users of the drugs take them in there and pass out in the halls.

“I asked what about the landlord and the police. They said to me that its one woman that owns most of them. She doesn't charge a deposit so its the only place the young families can afford. As for the police they answered, crying ‘What police?’.

The woman said that while she was in there, she was accosted for crack cocaine and heroin.

Locals say Medway House is a "no-go zone"

She added: “It’s literally a no-go zone. I am never going in there again.

”It’s petrifying for people round here. Since the first lockdown it’s been getting worse. The groups have got bigger.

”I’d say that they’re all lads between 14 and 18. We’ve (local residents) found knives at the front and back, there’s people dealing drugs, there’s prostitution. It’s like the Bronx.

“We’ve reported it to the police, but nothing seems to happen. It’s like watching a cartoon actually. The police turn up and all these lads climb out of doors and windows and run off.”

Fishwick and Frenchwood Councillor Yakub Patel said that youths often climb on to the roofs of shipping containers left nearby in a bid to evade the police, or run to back alleyways where they conduct dubious business.

He has vowed to call an emergency meeting to discuss the latest reports.

He said: “We’re well aware of the problem, and the council and the police are doing their absolute best.

”We regularly hold meetings in the area for residents, we carry out walks of the street, we’ve spoken to the landlords and we’ve managed to get more than 20 CCTV cameras installed and get doors changed to make it safer for the residents.

”Unfortunately this problem of drugs and knife crime isn’t just a problem in Preston.

”It’s seen as something normal. By that I mean it’s not shocking around here, it happens on a regular basis.”

Insp Emma Walker from Preston Police said: “We are aware of a number of anti-social behaviour issues being caused by teenagers gaining access to Medway House and other nearby apartment buildings on Samuel Street.

“We know that residents are getting sick and tired of these groups gaining access to where they live and are working with them and partners, such as the housing association who owns and maintain the buildings, and offered them advice on how to make the property more secure. We have also liaised with them to get the buildings renovated and tidied so not to attract unwanted people.

“In addition, we carry out patrols in the area and do regular checks in the building, speaking to those affected, taking action where we can, which has included arrests. That is on top of regular searches in grounds nearby for potential weapons being hidden. Where we find them, we seize them.

“We have identified key offenders and will be dealing with these individuals. This, however, is a wider issue than just crime and cannot be dealt with by the police alone. With that, we will continue to work with people living in the flats and the housing association to resolve this on-going problem.”

Councillor Peter Moss, Preston Council cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “We sympathise with the residents of Medway House, having to endure this unacceptable mess.

“Our Environmental Health team have an open case on this matter and are continuing to liaise with the property management company about a clean-up operation.

“It is important to note that as a privately owned property it is not within the council’s remit to clean or make repairs to the building. However, we are doing everything within our powers to ensure the best outcome possible for all residents at the property.”

Flats in Medway House are owned by a mixture of private landlords and a larger property company. The Lancashire Post has contacted the company but has not received a response.