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'Fed up' residents fearful of area turning into 'warzone' as crime concerns rise

“If no action is taken, this area will become a warzone”, fear residents living in and around Cobden Street in Peterborough after a growing concern of anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood. 
Residents say they are fed up after rising drugs and crime concerns in and around Cobden Street, Peterborough (Picture: Google maps)

Last week, families reported seeing 'violent' groups of men in the area with some of them apparently carrying dangerous objects in their hands. However, police confirmed they found no knife following the incident report. 

Residents who wished to stay anonymous have told Peterborough Matters that "the Millfield area including Cobden Street, Russell Street and Lincoln Road are becoming hotbeds for drug dealing and anti-social behaviour".

Recently, they have reported an increasing number of homeless people camping under bushes in the area. Drug dealers are also operating nearby, drug taking is rife, and also rivalries between drug dealers are increasing which they fear is putting the area at risk of more violent crime. 

Young families reported violence outside their property last week in Cobden Street and are worried about the implications for their children. They say "it’s very scary to constantly live with this fear" - and  they believe "it is only going to get worse if police do not get a grip on it now."

Residents also told Peterborough Matters that they "want increased police patrolling by foot or cycle and perhaps even more stop and searches to be conducted in the area to deter drug gangs from operating in the neighbourhood." 

MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow said he was ‘appalled’ at the amount of drug paraphernalia and litter blighting this Millfield neighbourhood. 

The MP is now in a process of arranging a meeting with Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire constabulary, Cross Keys Homes and local residents to work on an action plan along with authorities to clean up the neighbourhood, following his recent visit to the area where he spoke to ‘fed up’ residents. 

In a letter addressed to the CEO of Peterborough City Council, Gilian Beasley, Mr Bristow said:  “Last week, I was invited for a walkabout with local residents on Cobden Street and with the police to look at evidence of drug taking, rough sleeping and other forms of anti-social behaviour in the area. Sadly, these were all plentiful when I visited. As you can imagine, local residents are fed up to the back teeth of having to live with this. 

“I was frankly appalled to see the amount of drug paraphernalia and grotesque levels of waste and litter. All of this was only a few metres away from a children’s play area and in places where residents have to walk through every day. This has to stop. 

“I would like to see an attempt to design out crime on the estate and neighbouring streets by blocking off entrances and through routes, clear away overgrown vegetation and increase police presence and explore the possibility of CCTV.” 

In response to the incidents on Cobden Street last week, a police spokesperson told Peterborough Matters: "There have been three calls specifically relating to Cobden Street in the last week or so – none of them are related to anti-social behaviour though. 

“On August 10 just after 3.30pm officers received a call about a man seen with a knife. A search of the area was carried out but no offences were revealed and no knife was found. 

“On August 14 officers were called to a domestic related incident – it was later established no crimes were committed. 

“On August 16 police were called with a complaint about parties taking place in the area. Local officers were made aware and the caller was also asked to contact the council for their awareness. 

The police are working on a larger plan to tackle anti-social behaviour in the city. A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “We are aware of ongoing issues such as drug activity and dealing, rough sleepers and general upkeep and maintenance of the area. We are working with partners to address these. 

"Dedicated patrols have taken place and officers have listened to residents’ concerns to build a problem-solving approach to tackling the issues. Tackling drugs is a force priority and recent work by officers to tackle this has included a month-long operation in the city which 26 arrests were made. 

“We would strongly urge residents to report anything suspicious in the area to us, including drug activity and drug dealing. 

“The more information we have, the better picture we can build and the more efficient we can be at targeting those responsible. 

“People can report any suspicious activity online via or via our web-chat on the force website. More information and advice about drug dealing can be found on the force’s dedicated web page at“ 

Peterborough City Council are working to address the issues identified in this area. A spokesperson said:

"We are undertaking clean up works to deal with the immediate issue of littering. 

"We recognise that a longer term problem solving approach is needed so we are working with Police and Social Housing partners to join up our activities and look at ways in which together we can deter crime, prevent littering, support homelessness issues and improve the area. 

"A meeting is now being planned early in September to see how best all parties, including Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, can collaboratively drive this forward.

"To assist with our work, we really value community information to help inform our activities. If people have observe any issues with littering / fly-tipping etc they can report them to the council online using this link."