One man’s nightmare experience of anti-social behaviour in Cardiff has notched up 4,000 online followers a week.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, started writing a blog about his neighbour from hell after suffering in silence for nearly two and a half years.
And since publishing it online, the call centre worker has been flooded with messages of support from all over the country.
He said: “I started to write the blog because I didn’t feel the council were doing anything about it and I felt I needed to raise awareness of what was happening. Since I started it, people from across the UK have been in touch, many saying they have been in similar situations for years with nothing happening.
“Sadly, a lot of those people have eventually been forced to move home.
“It feels like the Government and councils are being tough on anti-social behaviour – but not if that person is living in one of their properties.
“I feel – at best – uncomfortable in my own home. There are times that I am scared to be here.”
Here is his story, in his own words…
“Three years ago this coming September, I moved into the flat I currently live in. My building has six flats inside it, and of the six, only one, mine, is not a council flat. My flat was purchased by my father, with me making payments to him every month to cover the mortgage he took out.
Around two and a half years ago now, Cardiff council moved a new tenant in. This tenant was a young man, who at the time couldn’t have been older than sixteen or seventeen, who will hereafter be referred to as Neighbour. It wasn’t long after he moved in before the trouble started.
At the time of Neighbour’s moving in, his older brother was getting towards the end of a stretch in prison for stabbing someone. Only a week or two after Neighbour arrived, his brother came to live with him too. And as soon as he did, my home became a horrible place to live in.
It started with loud noise, as all of Neighbour Brother’s friends would be in the flat as well, all day and night, every day and night. They would shout and scream at each other, thump around in what sounded very much like indoor football matches, and shout abuse out of the windows at random passers by.
It got worse from there, as litter was constantly dropped out of the window, to the point where both my front and back gardens looked like a rubbish tip.
And it wasn’t just empty bottles and food wrappers, oh no. Anything and everything you can think of came out those windows, including lit cigarettes and human excrement.
Eventually, Neighbour’s brother went back to prison and we hoped that would be the end of it. But it wasn’t. Nothing changed. The shouting and screaming, the arguments with people outside, they all continued.
Did we inform the council? Of course we did. Did we call the police? Yes, whenever we could. And sometimes, they would come out. But nothing seemed to actually get taken forward. The council would give us incident diaries to fill out, which we did dutifully. Once the diary was filled up, we were just given another one to fill out.
And this is all that has happened in the last two years.
Last Friday, I was away for the weekend, but did return to my flat on Tuesday of this week. I had been back less than 12 hours before, at ten to eleven in the evening, Neighbour’s Girlfriend started banging on my window asking me to let her in because she’d been locked out. I refused, since she shouldn’t be living at the property in the first place.
An hour later, there was more loud banging on my bedroom window, and the voice of my Neighbour shouting at us to let us in, claiming we had to because he was the police. Yeah. Of course he was.
We overheard him and his girlfriend having a screaming match outside my flat. We also heard him saying there have been over one-hundred and twenty complaints about him since he’s lived in the building.
And now, whenever he and his girlfriend leave, they leave a rock wedging the back door open.
What does it take? Every resident in this building has complained numerous times. Residents in other buildings close by and the houses across the road have complained. It’s difficult to sleep here, I’ve been threatened, I’m scared that my flat is going to get burned down by a lit cigarette being thrown into the garden and I just don’t want to be here. I spend as much time at my girlfriend’s place as I can at the moment, because my own home, which I pay for, is a horrible place to live.
Two and a half years. That’s thirty months. Of those, maybe five have been quiet. That leaves twenty-five months of this happening. I’m fed up of it. I’m fed up of not being able to relax in my home and I’m fed up of the council just telling us the same thing over and over again.”
Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for communities, housing and social justice, Councillor Lynda Thorne, said: “Anti-social behaviour is a significant problem and a major concern for communities everywhere. It leaves victims feeling intimidated, angry and frightened and has an impact on public reassurance.
“Indeed, long-running problems – and the sense of helplessness that goes with them – can destroy a victim’s quality of life and shatter a community’s trust. I am therefore determined to tackle the small minority of people who act in this way and, along with South Wales Police and our partners, will deal strongly with anyone engaging in such activity.”