Something wicked this way comes

Serelict buildings at the back of Queen Street in Amble.
Serelict buildings at the back of Queen Street in Amble.

GANGS of youths have turned derelict buildings into a late-night haunt for drinking and anti-social behaviour with frightened residents now branding the area a slum.

Empty buildings on Amble’s Braid have become the new hangout for youngsters in the town, causing massive problems to residents whose properties back onto the site.

And the unwanted attention has sparked fears that its misuse could lead to more serious crimes being committed.

In the latest incident, fire crews were called out on Tuesday night after rubbish next to one of the buildings, which are owned by Northumberland Estates, was set alight.

But that is just one aspect of the disorder.

One resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, said gangs of up to 20 youngsters – some as young as eight-years-old – wreak havoc there every night.

The retired man told the Gazette that over the last six months, he has contacted police 34 times about the problems.

“Something needs to be done about this before someone is burned, murdered or something horrible happens,” he said.

“Since these buildings were purchased by Northumberland Estates, they have fallen into a strong state of disrepair.

“The Braid used to be a beautiful place to look out onto but it is now just a big slum and nothing is being done about it.

“I have reported everything to the police and I feared that what happened at Hauxley, when the nature reserve was set alight, would happen and it has.

“Soon somebody is going to get seriously injured and something nasty is going to happen.

“They are out there every night, drinking, probably taking drugs and whatever else. I have also seen adults there passing out cigarettes to children.”

Wooden boards which were put up to secure the buildings have been torn down, the insides have been vandalised and empty alcohol containers and food cartons litter the area.

“It’s like something off Colditz,” he added.

“But we, the residents, have got to look out onto this.”

The land is owned by Northumberland Estates and in March, Tesco was given planning permission for a superstore on it.

But our source said that after speaking to the Estates, he was told work might not start for another 12 months.

“It would be an absolute nightmare to have to put up with this for another year,” he said. “Something needs to be sorted this week let alone this year.

“The Duke and Duchess must be very proud of the Alnwick Garden, well this is our garden and this is the state it is in.

“In Amble, we also depend on tourism and this is certainly not encouraging for that.

“If this supermarket is going to be forced on us, something has got to be done to speed things up. They could demolish the buildings, which they will have to do anyway. Just something to help us.

“All I wanted was a peaceful retirement and this is what I get.”

Colin Barnes, planning director at Northumberland Estates said: “The Estates was only notified about the problems at the site on Tuesday.

“We are now arranging to go and look at the buildings and see how we can make them more secure. Any demolition work would be up to Tesco.”