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‘Drug centre of Norwich’ - heroin addicts leave Tombland residents afraid to use their garages

PUBLISHED: 14:51 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 08 March 2018

Left, Larry Meek and Paul Beglarian outside one of the garages which has been broken into. Photo: Luke Powell

Left, Larry Meek and Paul Beglarian outside one of the garages which has been broken into. Photo: Luke Powell

Archant

An underground garage complex used by families and the elderly has been labelled as one of the “drug centres of Norwich”.

A person sleeping in the garage complex. Photo: Luke PowellA person sleeping in the garage complex. Photo: Luke Powell

People living at St Michael-at-Pleas in Tombland say they are afraid to use their lockups due to addicts regularly using the space to inject heroin.

Photographs taken over the past month show needle casings, faeces and heroin wraps littered outside the garages.

In the past few weeks, two lockups, which are accessed off Princes Street, have had their doors kicked in and turned into temporary squats.

Numerous complaints from residents has now prompted Link Up Properties, which manages the complex, to take action.

A map showing St Michael-at-Pleas location in Norwich. Photo: GoogleA map showing St Michael-at-Pleas location in Norwich. Photo: Google

Paul Beglarian, Link Up’s director, said: “The issue has got progressively worse over the past 18 months, and residents are afraid to come here at night.

“It is one of the drug centres of Norwich and you can see that by the amount of [heroin] wraps on the floor.

“I have come down here during the day and there has been five people in the corner injecting into their legs.”

Mr Beglarian said he had advised residents not to approach the addicts “under any circumstances” and instead call 999.

Cardboard Cardboard "beds" left outside one of the garages. Photo: Submitted

His company is now looking to install a roller gate on both entrances in the next three months, which could cost around £20,000.

“We have tried to involve police, and we have put several calls in, but of course they are affected by cuts,” he added.

Larry Meek, 64, a director of the local residents’ association, said the situation had got “out of hand”.

He said: “We used to discover someone down there once a month, but now it is two or three times a week.

One of the garages which had been broken into and used as a temporary squat. Photo: Luke PowellOne of the garages which had been broken into and used as a temporary squat. Photo: Luke Powell

“I know of a young guy who won’t park his car down there because he is too afraid.

“We should not have to build a fortress to stop this.”

A 26-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said she had been forced to move drug paraphernalia to access her garage.

“It has been getting increasingly worse to the point that I am now scared to walk around the complex, especially at night,” she said.

Needle casings at the garage complex at St Michael-at-Pleas. Photo: Luke PowellNeedle casings at the garage complex at St Michael-at-Pleas. Photo: Luke Powell

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said the force was “aware” of the issue and was stepping up patrols to tackle it.

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