RESIDENTS of a Strabane street say they are ‘living in a nightmare’ due to anti-social behaviour at an abandoned property in the area.
The property on the corner of Eden Terrace and Lower Main Street, which once housed McElhill’s Dental Practice, has been laying vacant for a number of years. In recent weeks the property has been a magnet for anti-social elements and is being used by young people as a drinking den.
One resident of Eden Terrace, who did not wish to be identified, said she was at her wit’s end with young people drinking, making noise, lighting fires, breaking windows and smashing bottles all over the street.
“It is a nightmare over there,” she said. “There are young ones going in there at the weekend, they are drinking, they are breaking the windows. I have young children in this house and they can’t walk up that way because there is glass all over the street with them breaking bottles and breaking windows. It is so rowdy. Some people came along last week and put up boards in the house to secure it but the young people just kicked them in and went in.
“They were partying away in there all weekend. There is a lot of anti-social behaviour. There is drinking, I’m sure there is drugs also. They are so noisy and they walk up the street banging on doors and windows. There are a few older people who live on their own in the street and they are terrified.”
The petrified mother said that she worries parts of the structure are unsafe and will fall down and hurt a child.
“There is a big old wooden shed there facing onto the street,” she said. “It should be knocked down. I’m afraid that it will fall down on one of my children when they are walking past to go to school. If it fell it would kill them.
“There is a smell of smoke in the street this morning because young people tried to kick down the boards and burn the shed down last night. I have no doubt whatsoever that the shed is going to go up in flames and someone is going to be very badly hurt or killed.
“From Thursday to Monday there is a party in that house.
“They are breaking stuff, clanging and banging, kicking in windows. Young ones are going in there drinking, lighting fires. It’s going to end in tragedy.
“I want the whole lot completely knocked down. It’s a disgrace that it’s been allowed to get this bad.”
A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that it is aware of the property and understands that it has been secured on a number of occasions by the owner.
“The council is continuing to work with the owner of the property to ensure the building is secured on a permanent basis,” said a spokesperson.