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Neighbours' children driving us insane. Any advice before dh ends up throttling them??

(23 Posts)
coppertop Sun 24-Apr-05 13:23:33

We've had problems with the children of a few of our neighbours for quite a while now. We've been putting up with it because they don't exactly come from the happiest of homes. One of the mothers, for example, lets her children roam around the estate as soon as they reach the age of about 3yrs. The Social Services are already involved with the family because of this but nothing seems to change. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen her 6yr-old coming back from the shops with packs of cigarettes for his mother. The shopkeeper gets away with this because once again no-one seems to care.

Anyway, we've put up with the noise and the shouting outside because the children are playing out there until all hours. We just keep the windows shut and let them get on with it. Recently things seem to have escalated with the children from a small number of families encouraging each other to do more. We've had eggs thrown at the windows which, as you can imagine, is not particularly pleasant to have to clean up. We've also had endless 'games' of ringing the doorbell and running away. This was bad enough when it disturbed ds1 and ds2 (both autistic) but has now developed into a 'game' where when someone opens the door the little so-and-so's (to put it politely) throw stones at them. More stones have been thrown at our windows. Two weeks ago they broke our window doing this. There's a whole arsenal of objects on our front lawn where they have thrown them at the windows but have missed. One of these objects is a fence post the size of a small log.

Last week I was taking ds1 (4yrs) to school with ds2 (2yrs) in the pushchair. One of the children (10yrs old) called me a b*tch in front of them. This particular boy is already well-known to the powers-that-be and has someone to escort him to school each morning to make sure that he attends.

Ideally I would like to report these families to the housing association (we all have the same landlord). I've started keeping a diary of all these incidents. Dh isn't happy at the idea of making an official complaint though as he thinks this may lead to even more trouble.

Does anyone have any ideas/advice/experience? Has anyone been down the official complaints route?


misdee Sun 24-Apr-05 13:26:04

call the police.

but agaion they may make more trouble.

personally i'd complain, they wont know it was you. u will have to keep a diary of events.

coppertop Sun 24-Apr-05 13:32:56

We called the police about the broken window. All we got was a crime number over the phone.

hub2dee Sun 24-Apr-05 13:46:57

sounds like a v. exasperated post from both your and dh's POV.

I'd advise the throttling (though obviously v. tempting) - or anything similar would end up with your family in lots of trouble and would generally discredit your argument... I know you're only joking, but I was thinking back to the teacher who lost her temper / the plot a month ago...

I'd report the shopkeeper to the police too, as this would be something they might easily be able to deal with.

One approach which could conceivably work would be to call the police / your local Community Support Officer after every incident / illegal happening for a week or two, and see if they won't start visiting / keeping an eye on things / have a word with the family / force them to keep the youngest kids at home at night etc. Possibly pave the way for ASBOs for the older kids ?

I'm sorry I have no relevant experience of anything like this, so no real advice to offer, but I didn't want to let your post get too lonely.

I know it's not what you want to hear, and it is not the ideal 'justice' in this situation, but if the diary of incidents / complaints don't work, could you consider pushing forward with a move to another place to live ?

Chandra Sun 24-Apr-05 13:54:47

Sad to hear you are experiencing that Coppetop. first thout of telling you to ring the police but then the attacks may intensify, is there any way you can move to another house?. Talk with the housing association, if you tell them that the children's attacks on your house are making your life a misery (don't say you are angry but mention how that behaviour is stressing you out/affecting your sn children). If they realise you are not overdoing it over a children problem they are more likely to pay attention.

happymerryberries Sun 24-Apr-05 13:59:03

Coppertop that sucks!

Keep a diary of 'events'. Document everything so that if it comes to ASBOs you have supporting evidence.

fuzzywuzzy Sun 24-Apr-05 14:34:36

Go to the police, tell them you wish to remain anonymous as you're the on who has to live with these neighbours. The police probably have a community unit who will be allocated your case, and an officer may arrange to speak to you and then advise you on what to do.
Definitely inform the police of the newsagent selling tobacco to an under age child.

coppertop Mon 25-Apr-05 15:42:41

Us moving house isn't really an option atm. There is no guarantee that we'll be able to stay in the same area and we need to be close by because this is where most of our help is based. Ds1's school has been brilliant with him and I doubt we'd find anywhere as good - not to mention the extra stress it would cause him too. Ds2 has a lot of appointments as well as playgroup so moving away would cause big problems there too. Neither of us can drive so we couldn't really move to a different area and drive ds1 and ds2 back here either.

The housing association holds a housing surgery in the local community centre so I think I will give them a try to see what they suggest. I also have a good friend who is in the police so I think I'll also ask her if she knows what our chances are of getting anywhere with a complaint.

The broken window was finally fixed today. The workmen who came out with the new glass commented on the egg stains and said there'd been a spate of it in the area recently. I'm still keeping a diary and will show it to the housing officer when I can get an appointment.


sahara Mon 25-Apr-05 16:33:18

Hi Coppertop. I haven't had any experience with this but I would hate to be in your place.

I did watch a program once that said keeping a diary was good and may eventually lead to an ASBO of some sort but that it was a slow process and it sounds to me like yoiu've had enough.

They said that filming it happening if possible was a better way to guarentee a result.

Complain discreetly otherwise that sort of trash may just think about ways to hurt you and your family even more.

I hope you gat it sorted.

tiffini Mon 25-Apr-05 16:59:36

i would complain to the housing association, and get as many other neighbours as possible to do the same, not the same week tho, it will look like a conspiracy.
Then continue to complain periodically, if no improvement.
As sahra has said you will need to keep a diary of all the happenings.
If you have no look with the housing association, try your local council.

tiffini Mon 25-Apr-05 17:09:03

ooh!! and always do the compaining in writing, and ask for a response in writing,to aknowledge they have recieved it.

coppertop Tue 26-Apr-05 19:40:50

Thanks, tiffini and sahara.

Well, the latest update is that my friend thinks it's definitely worth talking to the police about. She is contacting our local officers for me and they will be making a discreet visit to come and talk to us about it all.

BubblesDeVere Tue 26-Apr-05 19:48:34

I have once had to complain about a boy near here, I don't want to go into details, but you can cat me if you want.

In the end the police went round to see him and he has been warned that if I report him again he will be given an ASBO.

I understand COMPLETELY what you are going through, and as well as dh losing his temper, I have also done so, we get so much abuse it is unbelievable, and the best thing is, is that the parents who like to think that they are in a class better than everyone else, know what is going on and doesn't do a thing about it.

Like I said feel free to cat me if you like.

coppertop Wed 27-Apr-05 21:24:52

Thanks, Bubbles. I'm just waiting for the local beat officers to get in touch and hear what they have to say. Depending on their response I may well CAT you to ask for more info if that's okay.

TwoIfBySea Wed 27-Apr-05 21:54:07

Coppertop I know how bad neighbours can be and we had no where near as much trouble as you are having. Our housing association was reluctant to do anything and still is to other neighbours who have problems around the street.

I did hear that some councils have a person not directly involved who can bear witness to the problems and then act without your name getting mentioned. Don't know how easy this would be considering these attacks are so personal.

I also know that the housing association does have a responsibility to rehome you if you so wished but that would be like letting them win. It is a tough one I'm afraid as these kind of people seem to get away with doing whatever they want.

Are any other neighbours being harrassed, could you all band together?

LGJ Wed 27-Apr-05 22:03:43


Which HA are you with ??

nutcracker Wed 27-Apr-05 22:13:15

Coppertop, it sounds like your neighbours are related to my old neighbours.

We had exactly the same probs as you have described and the kids involoved also didn't come from happy homes and so at first i was reluctant to complain as i wasn't sure what trouble they would get in to, i mean yeah i was annoyed but didn't want to find out that they had been beaten cos of it.

Anyway the lad upstairs became more and more agressive, shouting and swearing at us whilst kids were with us etc and so i did complain. We also complianed about the very loud music and all night parties.
We had to keep a diary, logging each and every event. I would do this from now imo as it is so hard to remember what happened when etc, and also make sure you put exact details, ie if he told you to F off then put that, just putting that he swore is no good.

As to wether it will cause you more probs, it is hard to say, but if i had to say one way or aother i would say Yes it probably will.

Once we started the ball rolling (we wern't the only ones complianing either) then we got blamed for every complaint made against anybody. We had the downstairs neighbours accusing us if reporting here for everything and anything when we hadn;t and so then her and her kids started mouthing off when ever they saw us too.

The problem is, that basically these people do not care and so instead of finding out a complaint has been mader and thinking 'oh well we better try and behave', they think 'what the hell are they playing at complining about us' and turn the heat up.

We had meetings with the police on several occasions but tbh completely honest they were pretty useless. We were also told several times that they were going to be served with asbos and it never happened, there was always some excuse.

I would defo complain to the h/a, discuss situation with police and keep a detailed diary BUT I would also be very very wary of telling anyone even peple on the estate that you are friends with, because we found out that people so love to stir it.

I have obviously moved now but my old neighbour still hasn't been evicted despite the problems continuing. The h/a have witness statements off 5 people including myself and we all agreed to go to court over it but again now the h/a are dragging their feet becacuse for the mo she is being good.

If i can be of anymore help then just shout.

nutcracker Wed 27-Apr-05 22:15:18

Oh also meant to say, keep the crime number because if you did decide you wanted to move due to the probs, you will need it do gain points for suffering anti social behaviour.

QueenEagle Wed 27-Apr-05 22:51:55

Worth getting in touch with your HA - they will do something if you keep on at them.. My own HA did a leaflet drop stating that if any very young children were hanging around after 9pm then they would be reported to social services. Also warned that there should be no ball games in the area as again that would be frowned upon.

Can't say that the young kids hanging around has got any better but luckily for us we live slightly off the main part of our estate so don't get bothered too much.

It must be awful for you to be in the firing line like this.....don't your local police have Special Constables or Community Support Officers who could be assigned to patrolling your estate regulalry? Worth asking at your local police station - this is exactly the sort of thing they are assigned to.

Tortington Wed 27-Apr-05 23:21:50

your housing officer should go visit these families and restate their tenancy obligations and the threat of eviction. in the tenancy agreement it will say that they have to have control over their kids. your housing officer can also do a letter which will go to every home on the estate therefore not singling you out particularly. this should again re state the tenancy agreement. you could ask your housing officer to state a reminder that children aged 10 or over are legally culpable for their actions.

you need to report every crime even if its egging, likley hood is they won't do anything but it will be recorded. you need to put pressure on for a greater police presence. keep up the diary sheets and for gods sake - get a copy of them before you send them off to the HA who may say "we lost them" "we didn't recieve them" anything which may mean they dont have to work for a living.

thing is the evidence to get someone evicted has to be iron clad ask your HA for information on asbo's and ABC's ( acceptable behaviour contracts) these things HAVE to be tried with tenants chilren - every available chance must be given to a family before a socail landlord ( with a social responsability for housing) can evict someone. so make sure you police and HA are working together to get these contracts in place.

if you have a residents association maybe they will be able to help.

sometimes if your estate has a caretaker or a cleaner for flats or something, they can be asked to look out for particular incidents. they then can be a "professional witness" against the children or families concerned.

please note it down and ask you HA. and as nutty says for fecks sake do not tell ANYONE you are doing this it will only get worse

Avalon Thu 28-Apr-05 01:57:29

coppertop - absolutely staggering the way some people behave.

Can you video their behaviour discreetly?

marthamoo Thu 28-Apr-05 07:48:00

What a nightmare, coppertop I don't have anything to add by way of advice but you have my heartfelt sympathy.

coppertop Fri 29-Apr-05 15:51:20

I think I should be careful about what I wish for! After months of seeing no police at all they are now everywhere - not because of us, I should add. Someone attempted to abduct a young child in the area so there's a much greater police presence at the moment.

I definitely won't be telling anyone that we are complaining. At the moment we are relatively safe from the parents of the little thugs because of a case of mistaken identity. We have the same surname as the dodgiest family in the area and people are presuming that we are related and keep their distance. It's a shame their children don't think the same way.

Dh is off work next week so my plan is to see the housing officer then if the housing surgery is still open. I'm still keeping the diary and have recharged the battery on the camcorder ready for the next attack. I haven't seen the main culprit around for a few days but I doubt that the peace will last.

Thankyou all once again for your good ideas, good wishes and good advice.

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