“TROUBLE in Albert Street is becoming intolerable and somebody needs to do something about it pronto.”
That is the stark assessment from one resident who spoke to the Mail this week following the high-profile arrest of a man who was later charged with three alleged offences against a six-year-old child.
The resident voiced her fury after windows were smashed at a house in Albert Street where David Thomas Paige, the man in question, had lived for almost a year.
“People living here are tortured on a daily basis, if not by drunks and drug addicts squealing and fighting, then by burglaries, sex fiends, and general anti-social behaviour,” said the resident, who didn’t want to be named.
“Where are the police. They say there are neighbourhood police but I tried calling each of them on Saturday night and not one of them answered. It’s a disgrace.”
Last Tuesday night, a brick was thrown through the window of 85 Albert Street smashing the glass. Within minutes the police arrived and took Paige and his belongings away for his own safety.
The next day he was arrested on a number of sex related offences. He appeared at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday but refused to enter the dock to face the charges which included indecently assaulting a six year old girl, abducting a child and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.
While windows at the bottom of Paige’s house were boarded up, the resident revealed that a brick was also thrown at a top bedroom window late on Friday night and graffiti sprayed on the boarded up windows and door.
“The police arrived very quickly to take Paige away when a brick was thrown through his window but when local people try to call them, they don’t even bother answering their phones,” said the resident.
“Not a bit of wonder the Albert Street area has one of the highest crime levels in the area when the police won’t bother coming out to help,” she said.
“And no one can understand why these eejits are targeting the house now when Paige is in custody. We’ve been told that he won’t be back to the area. The only thing these vandals are doing is annoying the good people of the street. So get a life and stop it.”
Constable Stephen Sproule of Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team told the Mail they would urge residents to report all antisocial behaviour.
He said he would like some of the local residents to step up and start a residents’ association.
“Police would be keen to have an Albert Street Residents Association established if someone would step forward to chair it,” he said.
“We would be very happy to attend and also help with a neighbourhood watch,” said Constable Sproule who added that the problem in Albert Street was that there were quite a few short-term residents. He called on anyone with an interest in the area to come forward and set up an association.
“What ideally we would like is a partnership with the local residents,” he said.
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said he had been contacted by a number of concerned residents.
“I would like to condemn the alleged attack on the young child in Albert St last week. I would call on all parents to be mindful at all times to the whereabouts of their children especially as we soon approach the school holidays. I would urge the public to report any suspicious activity to the PSNI and let them deal with problems.”