A WAR veteran who moved to Barnsley four years ago is ‘at his wits’ end’ after a number of antisocial incidents in Bank End left residents living in fear.
Robert Hoyland MBE, 68, is a Royal Navy veteran and served the country for almost 30 years - and he told the Chronicle he’s never experienced such conditions, at least in the UK, that he currently is living in at his home in Bank End.
Robert lives around 100 yards across from the park at Maltas Court - a retirement housing complex run by Berneslai Homes.
He told the Chronicle: “I moved here four years ago from Portsmouth and when I first arrived I met so many nice people and the area was great.
“But over the last few years it’s started to get really bad - it’s just full of scum.
“To live in this area I’m in, you either have to be over 60 or over 40 with some kind of medical issues - I’m not scared of what’s going on but there are definitely people here who will be.
“It’s a lot of pensioners around the area anyway and we’re all sick and tired of what’s going on.
“The police always say a lot about patrols but it’s not helping anything.”
The area is well-known to authorities as a hotspot for deliberate fires, and just last week there were a number of blazes at the park - leading to it being fixed recently.
“I had to shave my dog as well because he was rolling around in the tar,” he added.
“They’re always setting fire to the green and to the tarmac at the park - it’s turned into one of the worst places I’ve lived in the UK.”
Coun Jake Lodge, who represents the Worsbrough ward, said he’s been working with the police and Berneslai Homes for more than two years to try and address the issue.
He also told the Chronicle that he has seen an increase of antisocial behaviour in Bank End, including a number of wheelie bins being stolen and set alight in the local play area.
He added: “We have seen a further spike in antisocial behaviour in the area recently and it is being committed by a large group of young people.
“It has included a number of fires being set in the local park, which has limited its use by families in the last week.
“I have seen it myself, I took my daughter to the park on Saturday and had to leave within five minutes, due to youths drinking alcohol, smoking a bong and the debris left from the fires.
“This is in addition to the antisocial behaviour residents have had to deal with for a number of years now.
“I have contacted the police and Safer Neighbourhood Team asking for additional patrols and would urge others to contact South Yorkshire Police if they have any information.’’