Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

'A 10-month living nightmare'

The head of the police watchdog has accused forces in England and Wales of failing to tackle anti-social behaviour properly.

Nicola in Nottingham contacted the BBC with her experience of anti-social behaviour that forced her and her family to leave their home.

It was a 10-month living nightmare. It started off with kids in the area shouting abuse at me and my family and ended up with our windows being smashed, threats and the feeling that we were prisoners in our own home.

I think we were seen as outsiders by the neighbours and never quite fitted in.

Not long after we moved to the neighbourhood a few of the teenagers started shouting abuse at us. But when I confronted them, the adults also began to take a disliking to us.

Young people in Bristol
We just couldn't escape them. Teenagers would throw rocks at us in the streets.

Things got worse, and the teenagers started throwing things at our windows - eggs and flour. Kids in balaclavas even came to our house and broke our windows with gardening slabs

We just couldn't escape them. Teenagers would throw rocks at us in the streets. They would stand across the road on dustbins to see if we were in - so they could intimidate us. If I tried to hang out the washing, some of my adult neighbours would shoot me with a pellet gun.

We called the police many times over the 10-month period, but nothing ever seemed to happen. I was also forced to dial 999 five times in one week - after a series of these incidents.

On one occasion we were sitting at home watching TV when a rock came in through our living room window. My dad, who was staying with us at the time, left the house to find the kids and ended up with a broken jaw after being punched in the face.

Another time I was upstairs when I heard my kids screaming for their lives - a group of 10-15 youths were throwing slabs through our downstairs windows.

Eventually I became a prisoner in my own home getting more and more depressed as the days went on.

I would sit in the dark at night just to listen for activity outside and to make neighbours think I wasn't in

I would sit in the dark at night just to listen for activity outside and to make neighbours think I wasn't in.

We slept with hammers and tools at the side of our beds just to protect ourselves.

After 10 months my house looked derelict. Windows and doors were boarded up. They had trashed the garden, smashed the cat house and pulled up all the plants.

I lost my home, I lost everything including my self esteem. I have been out of that neighbourhood for three months and I am still suffering mentally. My neighbours beat us, they beat the police, they beat the system.



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