OUR TERROR IN DRUGS ALLEY; _ Residents in Fear over Gangs Throwing Drugs

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE HORNBY

TERRIFIED residents are demanding increased security around Walton prison after being threatened by drug smugglers. They say they have been targeted by the dealers because their back gardens in Wood Avenue are so close to the jail.

As many as three times each day criminals go into their gardens to throw plastic bottles full of drugs into the prison's recreation yard. Sometimes they fire in an industrial firework with a mobile phone strapped on.

Some residents brave enough to challenge the crooks have been offered money to keep quiet, but most have been threatened with violence.

Today their MP demanded a meeting of police and prison officials to end their nightmare.

One woman said: ``They drive into the road, climb over the fence and throw the drugs over the wall.

``To find a complete stranger, masked or hooded in the garden is terrifying.

``They are terrorising our neighbourhood. We are getting threatened and intimidated every single day.

``They are that hard-faced because they know they can get away with it.

``But these thugs would think twice if they thought they were on camera. ''

The residents are calling on prison governor Kathy James to install CCTV cameras and lighting around exterior walls.

But they say their pleas fall on deaf ears.

Another resident said: ``Sometimes they turn up in the middle of the night.

``There's no way any of the prisoners are going to be in the recreation yard at that hour.

``I called Merseyside police thinking that was the public spirited thing to do - and because I was frightened for my young children - but the police don't care because the prison is not their problem.

``Sefton council just says that the prison is in Liverpool and there is nothing they can do either.

``It is a farce and the authorities are allowing decent people to suffer. ''

Last month the prison was rapped by a government watchdog after the ECHO revealed that gang warfare and drugs are rife.

It caused the number of prisoners designated as being vulnerable to double in less than a year.

Bootle MP Joe Benton said: ``This situation has become intolerable.

``The question of prison security and drug smuggling is bad enough. ``But these law-abiding residents are regularly finding trespassers in their homes and they must be out of their minds with worry. …