Hell goes on for drag artist

Martin Prescott, right, and neighbours, from left, Julie Sharrock, Linda Sharrock, John Heaton, Andrew Mercer and Victoria Pilkington
Martin Prescott, right, and neighbours, from left, Julie Sharrock, Linda Sharrock, John Heaton, Andrew Mercer and Victoria Pilkington

A DRAG artist who endured a six-year campaign of abuse by a “neighbour from hell” is once again the target of anti-social behaviour.

Martin Prescott, of Pryce Avenue in Ince, says he and other neighbours in his block of flats have had to endure months of sleepless nights due to banging and shouting from a tenant who moved in last December.

The trouble led to a recent court appearance with the tenant’s partner being found guilty of a public order offence after directing homophobic abuse towards Martin’s partner.

Martin says he has the support of many of his neighbours in demanding action against the disruptive tenant, and has even had residents from neighbouring streets explaining to him about how their lives are also being blighted.

For Martin the whole ordeal is a horrible case of deja vu after his previous neighbour subjected him to years of vandalism, abuse and anti-social behaviour before being jailed in 2007.

He says the recent trouble has had a serious effect on his health, causing him to return to using medication and leaving him fearing for his job.

Martin, 45, said: “After the previous nuisance neighbour trouble we had two years of peace and quiet, but since this young girl moved in there’s been nothing but trouble.

“It’s her flat, but her boyfriend lives there and her brother stops over too, and all three of them cause trouble all the time. My partner has had to sleep on the couch because the noise has been so bad.

“One night last week they started banging and screaming at about 10.40pm and it went on constantly until 6.30am. It sounded like thy were hitting the walls with a sledgehammer, the flat was shaking.

“The other week some lads pulled up and grabbed her brother from the flat and took him outside and beat him up in the cul-de-sac.

“The people living in the houses backing on to our flats are fed up to the back teeth of them too, and one woman stopped me in the street and said her little lad is petrified walking past.”

He is critical of the way the case has been handled by Wigan Council and Wigan and Leigh Housing (WALH).

He said: “Nothing is being done. I’m sick of getting on to the council, and I’m sick to the eyeballs of filling in diary sheets.

“When you ring now it’s a switchboard and the operator says the information will be passed on and someone will be in touch, and sometimes it takes a week for them to reply to your call.

“How are we supposed to go to work when we have to put up with this? I don’t see why we should have to suffer.”

WALH confirmed an investigation was ongoing and that tackling anti-social behaviour among tenants was a top priority.

Chief Executive Ashley Crumbley said: “This is an active case and we do not comment on active investigations which may result in legal action. We take all instances of anti-social behaviour extremely seriously and we are working closely with the council and Greater Manchester Police to address this issue.

“We operate to performance standards set by tenants and these are very demanding. We are also very strong on enforcement, using all powers available to us as a landlord.

“However, this is not an easy area of work and we need the help of local residents in gathering evidence to enable courts to evict tenants. We now have over 100 tenants excluded from getting a council house because of their past behaviour.”