Police to discuss residents' safety concerns after rough sleeper lashes out at woman
PUBLISHED: 10:06 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:06 04 January 2019
Police are planning to speak with residents to resolve issues around drug taking and rough sleeping in a Norwich garage complex.
It comes after CCTV captured a rough sleeper lashing out at a 60-year-old woman who was trying to drive out of her garage in St Michael-at-Pleas, Tombland, earlier this month.
The man verbally abused the woman, before punching and spitting at her car.
Over the past 12 months, the secluded garages, which are accessed off Princes Street, have become a hot-spot for heroin addicts and rough sleepers.
Needles, faeces and drug wraps are regularly found in the area, despite it being used by young families and the elderly.
Sgt Mark Shepherd from Norfolk police said he was now hoping to meet with the residents’ association to discuss the problems.
He said: “We want to speak with residents to discuss the ongoing issues. We are fully aware of them.
“We want to look at the best way forward to alleviate the problems.”
While St Michael-at-Pleas is secured by gates, they are only locked at night.
Paul Beglarian, director of Link Up Properties, which manages the complex, said the company had considered installing roller gates to secure the garages.
But he said it would cost between £15,000 to £20,000, and would have to be paid for by residents.
Now the company is hoping to get security personnel to patrol the area.
Mr Beglarian said: “We have a health and safety audit going on in the first few days of January and once that has been done we will be putting night time patrols down there.”
The 60-year-old woman who was targeted in the garages on December 20 said she was now “terrified” of using them.
Speaking about the ordeal, she said: “As I came in they [the rough sleepers] were sleeping in the garage opposite and I asked them if they would mind moving because I needed to back the car out.
“I had to get my bike out first and I felt a bit uneasy so I locked it.
“He [the rough sleeper] got up and started waving me back, but as I swung my car out, he went over to my bike and started saying how nice it was, putting his hand on the handlebars.
“When people start doing things like that your alarm bells start ringing.
“I think I said leave it alone, and sort of waved my hand to make him go away.
“He then started screaming at me and that is when I got really frightened.”
CCTV of the incident shows how the situation escalated in a matter of seconds.
As the woman climbs inside her car, the man punches the side of the vehicle.
He then appears to spit at it, before punching it again as she drives out of the car park to escape.
“I just felt terror,” the woman said. “It just shows how quickly things can escalate and how volatile a situation can become”
• Anyone with information should call Norfolk police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.