Call for action over crime-plagued Hot Lane Industrial Estate in Burslem
TRADERS are demanding action to stop prostitutes, vandals and thieves damaging their livelihoods.
Business owners on Hot Lane Industrial Estate, in Burslem, say the site has been 'abandoned' by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Emma Allen, manager of SB Autos, claims vandalism, fly tipping, prostitutes and frequent break-ins have had a negative effect on business and are putting off new traders.
Eight of the twelve units on the site are empty, with only two or three new businesses starting up in the last five years.
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Miss Allen, aged 28, who has managed SB Autos for six years for her boyfriend, Stephen Bowyer, said: "This site is an absolute disgrace. There is no security which means druggies are always hanging around at night. You can't leave cars outside the garages in case they get broken into and it's an absolute mess.
"It's no wonder there's so many empty units. Who would want to set up a business here?"
The couple pay the council £300 in business rates every month.
They have repeatedly complained to the council and have worked with police officers in Burslem to combat crime on the site.
Miss Allen, from Alsager, said: "The police have been really good about trying to stop break-ins but they can only do so much, they've got more serious problems to tackle.
"I understand that the ladies of the night have to make a living, but you do find used condoms at the back of the site from time to time, which is really unpleasant.
"All we need is a fence and we wouldn't have to bother the police."
George Tweedie has owned GT Motors for 20 years.Vandals recently broke into an empty unit next door and removed electrical wiring.
He said: "There's still a massive hole where they broke in, nothing has been done about that. I've probably reported at least 50 crimes here in recent years.
"If I dare to leave cars outside my business they get smashed in straight away. I've lost a lot of money that way.
"Not long ago someone came and dumped about 200 tyres outside.
"It's frustrating because this would be a lovely business park if it wasn't for the mess. It definitely puts people off opening up here."
PC Mark Trafford, from Burslem police station, said: "We regularly patrol the industrial estate area, with both high visibility and plain clothes officers routinely visiting.
"Recently there have been incidents reported to the police which include anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and criminal damage.
"We are continuing to work with business owners on the estate to look at ways of making the area more secure and it is vital that incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour are reported to the police.
"Anyone with information on incidents at the location is encouraged to contact us so we can take the appropriate action."
Mark James, the city council's strategic manager for estate services, added: "The council is continuing to work with business owners on the estate to tackle concerns over anti-social behaviour and improve security."