This couldn't seriously be Salford Council's response to anti-social behaviour in the Top Streets of Higher Broughton, could it? It's certainly sprayed in the Council's unique black stencil style. The few remaining residents definitely haven't done it, and neither has Salford Star been out with the spray can.
So with the cuts in public spending and stuff maybe the Council is saving on doing proper security by leaving a message for would-be thieves… `All Materials of Value Have Been Removed…So Fuck Off'
It's now two weeks since the Broughton Attic Attack (see here) when thieves hammered through brickwork in six attics of tinned up properties to reach the loft of Guy Griffiths' house. In a nightmare scenario, he saw a hand coming out of his attic but managed to fend off the assailant before any damage could be done.
Salford Council actually owns all the properties in the Top Streets, including houses where residents are still living, and has a `duty of care' to those people. Guy had warned the Council at least three times that something like this would happen and that empty properties should be bricked up rather than tinned up. But Salford Council Leader and Broughton councillor, John Merry, insisted that the tins were "effective" and "robust", and Councillor Peter Connor, Lead Member for Housing, had promised that "In response to this incident further security measures have been taken."
However, apart from re-bricking the attics that were smashed up, nothing seems to have been done at all. In fact there's been three cases over the weekend where the tins have been removed from houses and thieves have got in again, looking for copper piping, lead and anything else that they can sell.
We went on a tour of the area this morning and saw for ourselves the "robust" tins ripped off windows and a door.
Guy Griffiths again wrote to John Merry and Peter Connor this morning…
"There have been another 3 (three) break ins to council owned properties on
Cardiff Street over the weekend, one through a "robustly secured" door, which a resident has nailed shut as a emergency measure and 2 (two) through "robustly secured" windows.. I ask once again that you brick up all council owned properties in the area and remind you of your duty of care. I hope one of the remaining residents does not have to use legal measures to make the council take action."
On our tour, passing residents told of the empty properties being used as drug dens and the Top Streets becoming a playground for kids messing around on stolen motorbikes. All this in the name of `regeneration'.
"They talk about how great Broughton Green is all the time but they never talk about what it's like around here" said one passing walker "It's shocking".
And then in King Street we spotted the new deterrent sprayed onto the tins…`All Materials of Value Have Been Removed…So Fuck Off'
We wrote to both Councillors Connor and Merry last week asking what new security measures had been taken. Maybe this is it!
* The properties left standing in the Top Streets are currently the subject of a High Court injunction taken out by three of the residents to force Salford Council to stick by its promise to renovate the properties and not demolish them. There is no developer currently interested in the site and Salford's housing waiting list tops 18,000.
Stop Press: 5th October
Salford Council has just released this rersponse...
Councillor Peter Connor, Salford City Council's lead member for housing said: "The city council takes appropriate steps to secure all vacant properties wherever they may be. In general this includes not only the securing of doors and windows but also disconnecting utilities and removing items of value such as boilers and piping.
"In relation to Top Streets the council has taken a range of additional measures, which includes the bricking up of some doors and windows, and other measures which is not appropriate to publicise. We are aware that criminal damage is sometimes visited upon some of the properties that we are managing and as a result appropriate repairs are made as necessary. We take the discharge of our responsibilities seriously".