Fenton residents call for former prisoners' house to be closed down
A CHARITY is considering shutting down a home for former prisoners following complaints from neighbours.
Families claim they have had to endure threatening and anti-social behaviour from those living at the two-bedroom property in Hitchman Street, Fenton.
They have contacted Christian charity Saltbox to call for its closure.
Saltbox says it does not want to upset its neighbours.
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Dave Rowley, aged 52, of Hitchman Street, inherited his house from his mother who lived in the street for 60 years.
The retired engineer said: "It has been a growing problem and the police come out at all hours to deal with the trouble.
"We have had everything from prostitutes hanging around to drug dealing over the back fence."
His mother Sarah, aged 85, was bedridden with a long-term illness for four months before her death.
He said: "It was affecting her quite badly and she just needed some peace and quiet in her final days."
Mr Rowley says he has been forced to invest in CCTV cameras, a burglar alarm and strong locks.
He said: "I think a big problem is the lack of supervision at the house because more people go in through the windows than the door.
"We often have our nine month-old granddaughter to stay with us and it is not a pleasant environment.
"We want the house to close and have been promised before that it would go."
Saltbox says its clients do not pose a threat, and any concerns raised by neighbours are swiftly dealt with.
The charity runs 30 community houses across North Staffordshire, housing around 70 ex-prisoners. Places are not offered to arsonists or sex offenders.
Chief Executive Lloyd Cooke, aged 44, said: "We run a number of programmes for vulnerable people.
"From time to time there can be issues with clients who are problematic.
"We are very sensitive to these issues."
But neighbours say the behaviour of the tenants is making their lives a nightmare.
Anne Shaw, aged 56, from Hitchman Street, said: "You daren't leave any windows open.
"It is very difficult to ignore when you see these people blind drunk staggering up the street.
"We know they have been to prison which is very intimidating."
The house has been run by the charity for about two-and-a-half years.
Mr Cooke added: "It is very likely we will close this house down because we don't want any bother for the community."