Watch: moment theft victim's relative seeks mob justice on crime-riddled Gorgie estate

TERRIFIED tenants have told how drug-fuelled feral neighbours from hell are terrorising their Capital housing estate.

Friday, 31st May 2019, 4:38 pm
A flat was targeted by fireraisers last October

Vulnerable and disabled residents in Westfield Avenue have put up with years of dealing, robberies and fireraising outside their front doors.

Video emerged of one disabled victim’s relatives taking the law into their own hands by decking a suspected thief - while landlords are paying for extra police patrols.

One resident, too scared of reprisals to be named, said: “It’s horrendous what we’re going through - it beggars belief.

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A flat was targeted by fireraisers last October

“We’re living in fear when any house becomes empty, who are they going to put in there?

“We shouldn’t be living like this. A disabled man has just moved in next to a crack den - God help him.”

Under siege residents have endured years of anti-social behaviour including drunken fights in the car park and addicts smoking crack in back gardens.

A yob hurled a television from a top floor flat while a heroin user rammed the building with his mobility scooter.

A relative and another man lay into the suspected handbag thief

Scared tenants told how a disabled neighbour’s flat door was battered with a hammer while another property was firebombed with a welly fall of petrol shoved through the letterbox.

Firefighters had to rescue two disabled residents from their first floor flats in the middle of the night as the blaze raged last October.

Brazen dealers peddle drugs in broad daylight while there were also reports of robberies, beatings and overdoses.

One 55-year-old resident told how he spent his £36,000 life savings on a quarter share of his flat and pays £330-a-month rent.

Others took up similar part ownership deals and have been left livid by rent hikes each year of around £15-a-month.

The resident said: “We’ve truly had enough of living with constant drug dealing, thefts, overdoses and death here yet it never seems to get cleared up.

“I’ve argued for years that very vulnerable people shouldn’t be housed beside these addicts yet none have been evicted, instead just given warnings about their anti-social behaviour.

“We’re having to pay for with increased rent for more police while those responsible aren’t paying any rent of council tax - it’s disgusting.”

He told how last Friday, a disabled woman had her handbag stolen triggering a street fight between a relative and the suspect.

Just the week before, a shifty-looking bloke was seen prowling round the back of an 88-year-old woman’s flat.

Back in October 2017, he said a drug addict robbed a blind man of his wallet and within hours rampaged round the first floor brandishing a hammer.

“Luckily he was stopped when he went to attack a man with Down’s Syndrome while his carer was arriving,” he added.

He said a known drug dealer duped her way into another blind man’s flat before trying to break into his safe.

Edinburgh Central MSP and Holyrood Tory leader Ruth Davidson has now taken up her constituents’ cause.

“A concerned resident came to my regular constituency surgery today to discuss issues of drug dealing, violence, fire raising and anti social behaviour at Westfield Avenue,” said Ms Davidson yesterday.

“His concern is chiefly for his neighbours who include a number of disabled and vulnerable residents.

“The catalogue of incidents is appalling. Residents have resorted to taking videos of some of the events and they have to be seen to be believed.

“My office is in contact with the Housing Association to ensure greater safety and protection for those most at risk.”

Landlords Dunedin Canmore parachuted in six undercover cops as part of a police partnership to help crackdown on loutish behaviour.

A Dunedin Canmore spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour in the area and have been working closely with the community and our partners over the past year to tackle these.

“As part of our commitment to keeping our communities safe, we have a Community Improvement Partnership (CIP), made up of our own staff and officers seconded from the police and fire services.

“The CIP works with all our communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and to support people to stay safe in their homes.

“If any tenant was convicted of crimes such as drug dealing we would take immediate legal action to seek eviction.”

Police chiefs appealed for anyone witnessing trouble on the estate to shop the perpetrators to officers.

Chief Inspector Scott Richardson, area commander for South West Edinburgh, said: “I would like to reassure members of our community that officers have been actively responding to concerns raised by residents on Westfield Avenue.

“We work alongside partners, including the Wheatley Group, to tackle these issues. If anyone has any information regarding criminality in their area, please contact us on 101.”

Witnesses to any crime can also make an anonymous report to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

So fed-up is one tenant of Westfield Avenue, he compiled a dossier of despair going back eight years.

2011The day he moved in, a neighbour is found beaten up lying face down on the banks of the Water of Leith.2012TV set is thrown from an upper flat2013Addicts spotted smoking crack pipes in a back garden and fighting in the car parkDefecation and urination in common landingsHeroin user rams building with his mobility scooter, destroys his garden and verbally abuses children in the street2015Shoplifting tenant banned from nearby Sainsbury’sDeath of a tenant at a house partyDrug dealer dupes her way into a blind man’s flat and tries to break into his safeAnother tenant dies of an overdose in his ground floor flat2017Another blind man is robbedA tenant with Down’s Syndrome is assaulted before his attacker goes “berserk” with a hammer2018Arson attack at a flat - petrol is poured into a welly, set alight and shoved through the letterboxDrunk driver rams several cars in the car park before racing off and torching his own carFebruary 2019Disabled man is rescued from the Water of Leith suffering exposure. Police rule out any criminalityApril 2019Tenant spotted making death threats to another in the street in the early hours of the morningMay 2019Disabled woman has her handbag stolen. Her relative and another man confront the suspect in the street and punches are thrownShouting match between two tenants in the middle of the street