Elderly residents living in a sheltered housing complex in Keighley have pleaded with the town's top police officer to stop gangs of youths terrorising their estate.

Speaking at the Airedale Police Community Forum on Monday, Jean Myers, warden of the Hainworth Road and Denby Road complex, appealed to Chief Supt Derek Bonnard.

Speaking on behalf of the dozen tenants who accompanied her to the meeting, she said: "I have been a warden for nearly three years and in that time I have seen a decline in the behaviour of youngsters in the area. They are using these tenants as entertainment. Things are getting out of hand."

She said she believed a community police officer would make a big impact on the problem.

Mrs Myers is warden to around 80 pensioners living in 58 bungalows. Most of the residents are seriously ill or suffer from a disability. Mrs Myers says their lives are being made a misery by the youths who live in the surrounding roads.

Speaking to the Keighley News after the meeting, she said: "We are getting more and more youngsters on the estate and the problem is growing."

Mrs Myers says younger children cause trouble by pulling up flowers or knocking on doors pretending to be collecting for charity or touting for jobs. She says it is the older teenagers, who are often seen drinking alcohol, who cause the serious trouble.

"They are the ones who could get nasty, and they are the ones who threatened one old lady with violence when she asked them to move" says Mrs Myers.

At the meeting, at Keighley College, one resident said: "You daren't go out because you get a load of lip and bad language."

Chief Supt Bonnard said he did not have the resources to put a uniformed officer on every street corner and still maintain the results he had previously outlined to the audience.

He said: "Everybody has got a right to live without fear in their own home. I have a team called the community safety team which are the best people to deal with it.

"It's exactly the sort of problem they have dealt with in the past. I'm not saying we can definitely deal with it, but we will have a look at it and if we don't deal with it to your satisfaction then you can bring it back to this forum."

Mrs Myers says: "It's a lovely place and we want to keep it that way. The trouble needs stopping before it gets out of hand."

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