The idyllic charm of Gorse Hill and Elbury Mount Nature Reserve in Worcester has been shattered for local residents, who claim the area has turned into a living nightmare due to the presence of teenage gangs and drug dealers.
Homeowners near the nature reserve have said they feel terrorised by unruly youths taking drugs and racing motorbikes.
Kenwood Avenue, which lies adjacent to the nature reserve, has become a frequent target for teenagers who pelt eggs at several houses before escaping into the nearby woods.
What was once a peaceful and picturesque location, offering breathtaking views of the renowned Malvern Hills, has now become a “no-go zone” plagued by troublemakers.
This area holds historical significance as it played a crucial role during the English Civil War. Royalist garrison member Henry Townshend documented in his war diary that Colonel Edward Whalley, a Parliamentarian, strategically positioned a gun battery on the hill in 1646. Additionally, Druids were known to establish camps on the grassy slopes of Elbury Mount.
Residents and visitors alike now find themselves avoiding the nature reserve due to the swarms of troublemakers that have taken over.
Dave Bristow, a concerned grandfather who has lived in the area for three decades, said he fears taking his grandchildren to the reserve.
The retired butcher said: “I walk my dogs up there twice a day but would never go there at night. You see beer and cider cans all over the place.
“I always think if they can carry them up there full why can’t they take them back down empty instead of throwing them everywhere. It’s sad really. One of them hacked down a lovely hollyhock flower which was in full bloom and dragged it all down the path. It’s just senseless.
“I’ve got two grandchildren but wouldn’t take them up there. It’s an ideal place for teenagers to meet up where they know they won’t find any adults.”
Declan Fitzgerald, a car salesman, said his dog was almost run over by a teen on a motorbike. He said motorbikes constantly disrupt the peace near his house.
A concerned mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was disappointed at the deterioration of the nature reserve. She said: “The nature reserve used to be lovely, you could take picnics up there and really enjoy the views. There might be some litter but nothing like you have now. The place is a magnet for drug dealers who can do their business safely away from CCTV or police.
“I’ve known of people who have dared confront the gangs and they got their houses egged over night. What was once a really pleasant area where families and walkers could enjoy is now a no go zone. The police don’t care and the gangs know it. They have made our lives hell.”
Local residents are now urging Worcester City Council to take action by installing CCTV cameras in the nature reserve to combat anti-social behaviour. Councillor Mohammad Altaf, representing Gorse Hill, supports this proposal and suggests implementing lockable gates in alleyways which have become magnets for drug dealers.
He said: “The issue is that we have a lot of alleyways between Kenwood Avenue and there are a lot of residents complaining that at night there is a lot of drug dealing going on in those alleys.
“If we can put gates in those alleys at certain times, especially at night when there is a lot of drug dealing and motorbikes are going up and down Kenwood Avenue.”
Councillor James Stanley said: “CCTV is something that we would really like to get installed permanently.
“But it’s very difficult to do because of significant demand elsewhere.
“I think with the measures that we are hopefully going to get and also the stuff that is taking place at the moment, we’ll see a real significant improvement up there.”
Barriers were installed after more than 50 residents complained about motorbikes being ridden over the nature reserve, however, they were branded “useless” by locals who say the yobs hop onto a path to bypass them and access the area.
Worcester City Council say they had set aside £50,000 to tackle anti-social behaviour in the area.
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