Terrified locals have spilled all about life on one of Liverpool’s most dangerous estates, where ‘wannabe gangsters’ think they’re the Kray twins, dogs are shot and firefighters are attacked by vicious thugs.
Residents say living on Primrose Court in Huyton, Liverpool, is ‘horrendous’ after the area – once full of nice well-kept family homes – descended into disrepair.
Just four of the 18 houses on the estate are occupied, locals say, and the streets are disfigured by piles of upturned furniture strewn across gardens.
It follows years of rampant crime in the area, which saw fights on the street, homes ransacked and some properties burnt to a crisp.
In June, firefighters were trying to put out a blaze, believed to be deliberately started, on the estate when an ‘aggressive man’ meant they had to call police for backup.
In 2018, shocking pictures shared to the force’s Twitter account showed an axe recovered from the estate which officers ‘removed for everyone’s safety’
Police also shared a picture of a tipped-over car being propped up by wooden planks on the estate in 2018
And it wasn’t the first time firefighters had their work impeded by aggressive locals.
In 2018, Merseyside Fire and Rescue crew members were ‘attacked’ while trying to put out a blaze in a set of wheelie bins and other debris in the middle of the road.
Thugs used ‘fireworks, stones and even road signs’ as weapons against the weary crew members.
The year before that, news of another sordid crime came from the beleaguered Liverpool estate.
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross was shot dead by ‘wannabe gangsters’ who broke into a home where police later found a cannabis farm.
A resident – who was not named in reports at the time – told The Liverpool Echo: ‘It would be better if the Kray Twins could come along and sort them out.
‘The people around here are just wannabe gangsters. To shoot a dog is horrible.’
Notorious East End gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray were both jailed for life in 1969 for a series of violent offences, including murder and armed robbery.
Shocking pictures show the Primrose Court estate which some residents have described as the most dangerous street in Liverpool as houses have been left abandoned, with some burnt out while others are boarded up behind mounds of rubbish
Police investigating the heinous killing discovered a cannabis-production enterprise in the property and a 29-year-old man was questioned.
The years of brutal violence have left locals frantically seeking somewhere else to call home.
A female resident – who asked not to be named – said: ‘It’s horrendous living here. I’m desperately trying to move out and find somewhere to live.
‘Who wants to live like this? It’s just become a dumping ground. Look at the place. It’s a total mess.
‘Teenagers were forever coming on the estate to smash things up but even they’ve got bored now as there’s nothing else to destroy.
‘My biggest fear is someone setting fire to a house nearby and it spreading to mine.
‘The houses used to be nice but now the whole estate needs knocking down.’
One man added: ‘This is still our home so we do our best to keep it tidy.
‘But we are fighting a losing battle. There’s more furniture on the street than in people’s homes.’
Locals say the trouble really when a family moved into one of the houses in June 2018.
Neighbours say the trouble started two years ago when a number of families moved to the area and trouble in the street arose
Police and council officials held an action day to engage residents in a bid to tackle the problems with crime and fly-tipping
But years earlier, in 2015, local Dean Arnold, 22, was handed nine years in prison for owning a sawn-off shotgun and for possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to supply.
In 2018, shocking pictures shared to the force’s Twitter account showed an axe recovered from the estate which officers ‘removed for everyone’s safety’.
Another resident – who also asked to keep her name hidden – said she lived in a house on Primrose Court for seven years until she couldn’t take anymore.
She said: ‘It was nice when I first moved in. They were lovely houses.
‘It went really bad around June 2018. One family moved in and the next minute they all turned up. That was when it all went down hill.’
The woman said the situation got so bad that her children witnessed serious violence while playing out in the front garden.
She added: ‘They were always in my front garden fighting, drinking and dumping rubbish.
‘You’d have taxis pulling up and they’d be threatening the taxi drivers with baseball bats. Police are here ten times a day going around the estate.’
After the families moved out of the houses, the woman said kids living in the area continued to vandalise them by smashing up windows.
Photos show piles of rubbish from abandoned mattresses and sofas to overflowing bin bags wedged between the properties.
One property has been so badly damaged by a fire that half of its roof has been burnt down.
Despite troublesome families moving out, neighbours say children with nothing better to do vandalise empty homes
In 2019, a three bedroom semi-detached house on the estate went under auction with a £1 guide price.
And just one month later, the house next door went on the market for £30,000.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said the estate has had ‘no trouble at all’ since traveller families moved out more than a year ago.
‘The traveller families have now moved out of the close for over a year,’ she said. ‘[It] is a very quiet place, it used to be so bad but now it is not.
‘We have no trouble at all here, the police come in to check the area but there’s never any bother.’
One man – who also asked to leave his name out for fear of repercussions for him and his family – said he felt unsafe living near the estate but had no other choice.
He said: ‘We’ve had a lot of problems with anti-social behaviour. I think that’s why noone wants to take these properties.
‘I was new here in Liverpool. I never imagined it would be this way.’
He said teenagers regularly ride around the area on bikes with their faces covered and run away from police.
The man added: ‘I was riding my bike when a couple of teenagers tried to throw stones at me. They tried to push me off to take my bike.
‘They’ve tried to steal my motorbike a few times. I’ve reported it a couple of times to the police.’
On August 26, officers from Merseyside Police carried out a day of action in the area, along with Knowsley Council’s Crime and Communities, Environmental Health and Street Scene Teams and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
They were also joined by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and British Gas.
Reports suggest Merseyside police continue to patrol the estate to tackle antisocial behaviour and vandalism in the area
The street has become a fly-tipping hotspot despite council officers’ efforts to clean up the area with a day of action in August
Police say they continue to patrol the area and are urging anyone with information about the fly-tipping to make a report
The force said the day involved ‘targeting those involved in serious violence and antisocial behaviour, whilst engaging with and reassuring the public’.
On the day, officers arrested a 37-year-old man on suspicion of abstracting electricity after British Gas engineers discovered a de-energised gas meter at his home. Officers also seized a small quantity of suspected Class A drugs from him.
Chief Inspector Phil Mullally, Knowsley’s Local Policing Team said: ‘The local community will have noticed officers in this area regularly and we continue to be a visible presence to both tackle crime and anti-social behaviour but also to reassure the community that we’re here for them.
‘I would urge the community to contact my team with information of those involved in crime and those who may be having a negative impact on the area. We’re determined to tackle community concerns in Primrose Court, working with our partner agencies to have a long-term positive impact.’
A Twitter statement about the arrest read: ‘A 37-year-old Huyton male arrested this morning in Primrose Court.
‘A safety check on one property revealed a tampered gas meter which had been de energised.’
Knowsley Council has promised to take ‘robust action’ against anyone who is proved to have fly-tipped in the troubled area
The state of the area means some properties in the street were available at auction with an initial starting price of just £1
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said: ‘Our message is clear – we will not tolerate crime and ASB in our borough, and the Day of Action embodies all the hard work being done behind the scenes by ourselves and partners to tackle the concerns that matter to our residents.
‘As a partnership we have developed a strategy in order to bring about positive change and we are taking a holistic approach in order to create a safer borough for Knowsley’s residents.’
Sgt Mark Wilson, who spent the day at Primrose Court added: ‘[The day of action was] a real show of partnership activity and I hope the public see us working with the local authorities and other partners as a positive tool to reduce crime in the area and increase the safety of those living there.
‘Work is still ongoing in Knowsley to ensure our communities are free from harm and deployments like these will form a key part of our attempt to find those responsible for committing crime and putting others at risk.
‘If you would like to get in touch because you know someone involved in crime or want to report something else to us, please DM us @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK anonymously.
‘Thank you to the wider public for your continued support, this is hugely appreciated and invaluable when it comes to taking dangerous people, weapons and substances off our streets.’
Addressing flytipping in the area, a Knowsley Council spokesperson said: ‘Fly tipping is a blight on our communities and sadly, as has been the case across the UK, has seen an increase during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We are appalled by the ongoing issues at this location and appeal to our residents and communities to come forward with any information they may have.
‘Fly tipping is a crime and we take robust action against those who are responsible, which can result in a fine or prison sentence.