A Wigan dad says he feels like a prisoner in his own home after being terrorised by a spate of horrific anti-social behaviour.
Lee Gaskell has been subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse, damage to his property and threat of violence at his home in Canberra Road, Marsh Green.
The intimidation tactics of the gang of youths has escalated so much recently that the 43-year-old’s recovery from depression has been dramatically halted.
Lee said: “They throw stones, they have baseball bats and even scaffolding poles. They’ve even been setting bonfires on the field across the way from my house.
“I’m really worried because if it isn’t nipped in the bud, it will escalate and someone will get hurt.”
Lee has lived at his current address for more than 10 years, but says he had no trouble from youngsters whatsoever until very recently.
He said: “There would be the minor occurrence here and there, but nothing of this magnitude. It’s escalated massively over the last couple of weeks and it just keeps getting worse and worse.”
Allegedly, neighbours have also been frequently victimised recently, with the Easter holidays giving yobs more time to throw mud bombs at the houses and rip off fence panels.
Lee stated: “There are some residents around here who are absolutely sick of it now.”
Lee’s front window is even currently boarded up after a brick was thrown through his living room window, showering him in glass.
But the most significant damage has been psychological, with Lee now fearing for his own safety and that of his nine-year-old son.
“I don’t sleep properly anymore,” he said.
“I’ve suffered from depression for the past three years. I had just started coming out of my shell and getting better and now I feel like I’ve been knocked right back to square one.”
The troublesome youths have even taken to bullying Lee’s young son.
“They’ve jumped him on the way to school and tried to take his wallet. Now he doesn’t want to go out.
“He doesn’t deserve that kind of fear at that age. A nine-year-old deserves a life, to be able to play out, but I’m always worried that something will happen to him again.”
Lee claimed to have been met with death threats and intimidatory tactics whenever he has attempted to confront the culprits.
“One in particular threatened to smash my head in with a bat. And I heard another say: ‘Lee, watch your back because I’m gonna stab you up.’
“He was arrested for that but was back again the next day. Then it starts all over again and I’m back to feeling like a prisoner in my own home.”
The frustrated father also claimed to have hit a brick wall when asking authorities to help with the situation.
“The police don’t realise how serious the situation is.
“At times, it’s taking the police three or four hours to turn up. They just told me to keep a log of everything that happens, so I’ve been taking pictures from my window. What if something happens to me or my son?”
On its website, Wigan Council recommends reporting anti-social behaviour via their Report It app, or to contact 999 in an emergency.