Calls to make safe “crime magnet” city park where teenager was shot in the back
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Calls are being made today to make safe a Norwich park where a teenager was shot in the back as it has become a 'magnet for crime'.
Officers were called to Adelaide Street at approximately 2am after local residents reporting hearing an altercation followed by a gunshot.
Units, including armed response officers, arrived on scene to find a man with a gunshot wound to his back. The victim, a 19-year-old from London, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for treatment. He remains in a serious condition although his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
The incident happened in a wooded area cornered by Adelaide Street and West End Street which has been sealed off while police carry out enquiries.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey has said it was the first time the county had seen an incident of this kind.
But local residents said they were not surprised by the shooting on their doorstep, as drug dealing is 'rife in the area'.
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Colin Keatley, landlord of the Fat Cat pub on the corner of Nelson Street and West End Street, said the park where the shooting occurred was 'the major problem in the area'.
'Obviously people are dealing drugs in there because it is rife everywhere,' he said. 'You never see children playing in there. It is empty most of the time because it is dark and it worries people who are walking through.
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'If they are not going to do anything with the park I would rather they demolished it. It has been on the radar for 10 years a drug dealing den.
He added: 'It doesn't surprise me because this sort of thing is happening everywhere. It can happen anywhere but that park is a magnet for problems. When you come into Norwich it says a 'fine city' but it is gradually turning into a crime area like a lot of other places.
'People move from other parts of the country to places like Norwich to avoid this kind of thing.
'It is getting out of control in Norwich. If you look at what is happening in London with gangs killing each other and turf wars, it is a nightmare.
'It was going to take something like this to happen for people to act.'Matt Bradfield, 43, has lived on Nelson Street for four years, and was equally unsurprised by the violence.
'My only concern would be if there are going to be repercussions from this,' he said.
'Nothing like this has happened around here before. I have lived in London and Manchester before moving here and I have never had a shooting this close to my door.
'I think that park is a bit of a magnet for crime. It has been neglected and the budget for maintaining it has gone out of the window in recent years.
'You walk past there and anything could be going on behind the hedges. It doesn't surprise me, what with the cuts to the police budget in terms of them being able to get stuck in to this, and cuts to the council budget in terms of maintenance of the park.
'You could literally shoot someone in the back in that park and nobody would see it.'
One Adelaide Street resident, 29, said the shooting was 'awful'.
'I walk my dog down in that park regularly and it is a bit rough in there. It has got worse and I actively see people dealing drugs in there regularly.
'It is pretty awful and it's worrying in general.'
Superintendent Roger Wiltshire said: 'We understand the nature of this incident will cause concern in the local community. However, I would like to reassure local residents that we do not believe there is any risk to the wider public following this incident.
'The area has been sealed off for forensic enquiries to take place and we will have a number of police resources in the area throughout the day, including an increase in uniformed officers to provide reassurance.
'Enquiries are ongoing to find those responsible and I would ask anyone who was in the area at the time of the attack, or anyone who has information, to come forward as soon as possible.'
Anyone with information about the incident should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting CAD reference 23.