“Living hell” for residents too scared to leave their homes on new Leeds estate

Residents who have moved into brand new houses on a Leeds estate say they are too scared to leave their homes. ALISON BELLAMY reports.

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 2:12 pm

The new homeowners say they have entered a “living hell” and their “dreams are shattered”, with nine out of 20 occupied homes being hit by thieves in the last couple of weeks.

The burglars strike when it is dark and have used ladders to access upstairs windows - even trashing one house on the day a family moved in - and they have stolen cars and robbed sheds.

The first residents moved into Blencartha Crescent, off Wykebeck Avenue, Osmondthorpe, Leeds 9, a few weeks ago.

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The Keepmoat Homes Fusion site, off Wykebeck Avenue, Leeds 9.

There is around 150 homes still to be built on the Keepmoat Fusion new build estate - some of them will be affordable housing.

One of the new homeowners, who paid around £170,000 for their three-bedroomed property, said: “It has been completely horrendous, I don’t know what we’ve let ourselves into by moving here. The rest of the area is a building site, with only a small section complete.

“We know a gang of five thieves entered one home and they strike whether people are in the house or not.

“People are scared to stay home and scared to go out, and if they do, dread coming back in case they are burgled. It’s a living hell.

The Keepmoat Homes Fusion site, off Wykebeck Avenue, Leeds 9.

“We are on edge and scared. Our dreams are shattered. There are no street lights so we are all living in darkness with our blinds down and are terrified.”

She said they wanted Keepmoat Homes, who they bought the house from, to provide a security patrol, fit security lights on homes and cut vegetation back.

The residents, who have formed a Neighbourhood Watch, say their street is so dark CCTV cannot pick up any images of the thieves, who often lurk in bushes and use the nearby railway banking to escape.

One family was burgled on the day they moved in, after nipping out for 15 minutes to get a pizza. They returned and the house was ransacked with items stolen.

All residents are increasing their security with additional CCTV and burglar alarms.

The spokesman added that the majority of people who had moved in had bought their first home, were under 25 and professional workers: “We should be celebrating, not living in fear.”

A spokeswoman for Keepmoat Homes said: “We are committed to providing high quality homes for its customers.

“We are sorry that residents at our Fusion development have gone through this distressing experience. We understand that street lighting is vital to ensure residents feel safe, and we have provided temporary solar-powered lighting to be in place until street lights are connected.

“In line with building regulations, all new build homes require upstairs windows to be keyless, to ensure a safe and quick escape in case of an emergency.”

But a spokesman for the group of neighbours said: “It is horrendous. We have moved here and bought new houses but have had no support from Keepmoat. They don’t want to know.

"The temporary lighting they have put up does not work and is not very bright.

“We want support for those affected and to let people know to be vigilant. Some of these houses have small children. People need to be made aware to protect their homes and cars.

“We let each other know to keep an eye out if we are not at home or running late.”

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police added: “The local neighbourhood policing team has been made aware and will be monitoring the situation and working closely with their colleagues on Leeds District Crime Team who will continue to proactively target burglary offenders in the area.

“If anyone has witnessed any suspicious activity or has any information on those involved in recent offences we ask they contact officers via 101."