Southend: Ambleside Drive the ‘War West’, locals say

A SOUTHEND road looks like the ‘wild west’ as prostitutes and drug dealers roam the streets late at night, residents fearing for their safety as their neighborhood turns into a ‘red light district’.

Ambleside Drive has long had problems with gangs, drug dealers, and prostitution.

Residents have now recounted what life was like in the notorious neighborhood as council, police and charities attempt to clean up the area which has fallen into a “wild west” according to a resident.

“Our road has become, in my opinion, essentially a red light district, it is very worrying to live here,” she said.

“I’m afraid to walk the road alone, even during the day, and even though I don’t have children, I worry about those who do.

“It’s a constant hive of criminal activity, with drug dealers, sex workers and gangs openly claiming the road. ”

She added that she had been pleased with the Essex Police response to the situation, but said she wanted more to be done.

“There are clearly more offices in the neighborhood lately, the problem is that the gangs see them arrive and disperse, as soon as the police leave, it’s back to the same old heckling,” she said. declared.

In August, Essex Police launched Operation Vimto which saw more than 50 patrols carried out in the area.

New CCTV cameras have also been installed along the road this year and Southend council said it is in the process of installing more cameras.

Since the operation began in August, a total of 41 vehicles have been stopped, three arrests made and three community protection warnings issued.

“I’ve seen a lot of them in my life, but I’ve never opened up prostitution like this,” said another resident.

“The way I see it, if you’re going to have a brothel open on a residential street with no security or regulations, just the police passing every now and then, with heroin addicts, next to one of the lesser estates.” poorest city council in the area, so what do you think will happen? ”

He added that residents, women and girls, were often approached by moving walkways.

“My wife was accosted as she was walking down the road in the afternoon by a moving sidewalk,” he said.

“Another time a young girl was walking to school and was followed by a car. She must have knocked on the door of one of the houses to ask for help, she was terrified.

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