THE derelict Glendinnings factory site is still proving a bone of contention for businesses in the Kilwilke area.
Traders there have claimed the site is not only a hive of antisocial activity but is also being used as an escape route by criminal elements.
It follows an armed robbery at a convenience store in Victoria Street where a member of staff was threatened by a man with a hammer who made off with a sum of cash.
The incident happened last Tuesday night at McCann’s Today.
Owner Sarah McCann said: “He got away with a large sum. 10 pence would be too much for him.
“The fact he came in and scared my staff is of even more annoyance. The fella who was working that night is like a ghost.”
Sarah said the root of the problem was the derelict land at Glendinning’s old factory.
She said youths were drinking and taking drugs at the vacant site then indulging in criminal behaviour.
“The derelict site gives them an easy escape,” she said. “A guy in a car tried to chase the fella on Tuesday night, but he got away by cutting through the Glendinning’s site.
“We’ve had to employ a security guard at night. It’s very frustrating.”
“We are absolutely tortured here,” said Sarah.
“In my opinion all this is being carried out by one gang who all live locally.
“I’m born and bred in Kilwilke and I never remember these sort of actions going on in my day.”
It’s understood the shop on Victoria Street isn’t the only business there that’s been targeted by hoods.
The ‘MAIL’ has learned in recent weeks a number of business in the area have suffered from such criminal activities as arson, vandalism and theft.
Two weeks ago at a local engineering company hoods broke into a workshop, started a forklift and drove it into a set of roller shutter doors. They also stole tools from the workshop.
A businessperson in the area said: “You set up a business with the aim of keeping people in a job and making a profit. When you have to factor in repairing items that have been damaged by vandals it makes you think whether it’s worth it or not.”
They added: “I don’t believe the site is derelict land. Someone owns it and the owner should have a duty of care to prevent people entering the land. It’s through the old Glendinning’s site that they’re able to access the businesses round here.”
Detectives are appealing for information following the armed robbery.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact CID on 0845 600 8000. Or contact Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.