A COMMUNITY has been blighted by a group of young people taking over a flat and threatening neighbours, according to tenant representatives.

Residents in Hollingdean fear that the group has taken over a flat in The Linkway and is dealing drugs on the estate.

In a written question to Brighton and Hove City Council’s north area housing management panel, residents said that a flat was being “cuckooed” – where a vulnerable person’s home is taken over and used as a base by criminals.

At a meeting on Tuesday, June 11, where residents discuss issues with councillors and housing officials, the panel was told that one resident was surrounded by a group of teenagers who threatened to set their house on fire, saying that they “knew where they lived”.

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The resident told the meeting that St Richard’s Church and Community Centre was attacked and now the group was crossing over the railway line into the Bates Estate and Moulsecoomb.

The resident who was threatened said that the group was dealing drugs, committing burglaries, torching the bin areas and “spray-painting anything in sight”.

The resident said: “I’ve reported this to the police so they know this is happening. At our last residents’ association meeting we had two PCSOs and a sergeant from Sussex Police. They were good at answering questions from the residents but they weren’t saying when they would take action.

“Someone is going to get hurt eventually.”

The council’s interim assistant director for housing management Justine Harris said that there was an anti-social behaviour case open in the area.

She urged people to report offences to the police and the council and said that both organisations were working together.

Ms Harris said: “Some of the behaviour is criminal. That’s why we say report it to the police – but we need to know. If people don’t tell us, the police will but it might take a while.”

The most recent data on the Sussex Police crime map includes five incidents in The Linkway in April – an incident of arson and criminal damage, a drug-related crime, two episodes of anti-social behaviour and a fifth incident categorised as “other crimes”.

In March eight crimes were listed – three violent or sexual offences, two public order offences, a burglary and two “other crimes”.

Sussex Police said: “We are not aware of any current issues regarding cuckooing in The Linkway, Brighton.

“We continue to work with partners to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and we urge anyone with any concerns to contact police via 101 or report it online. In an emergency, dial 999.”