ELDERLY and vulnerable neighbours in a quiet street say their lives are being made a misery by drug abusers and drunks, some as young as primary school age.
The six houses in the Deneside area of Seaham are occupied by people who are pensioners, disabled or both.
Now, 21 ornamental garden lights have been damaged and stolen from the garden of Kathleen Graham and her husband Alan.
But residents say this is only the latest in a long line of bad behaviour by youths.
Mrs Graham, 62, has lived in a council property in the area since 1996.
She retired from her job as a hospital domestic supervisor a year ago due to back problems.
Mrs Graham said: “I wouldn’t care, I was up three times in the night last Thursday and I didn’t hear anything.
“When I came outside I discovered all the lights had gone. I can’t understand why they took the tops off the lights. Why would they want to take them? It doesn’t make any sense.
“Two weeks ago, they were climbing on top of the shed. I came out to talk to them and the gave me a load of lip. They were effing and blinding. The shed has been broken into about six times.”
Perhaps more alarming is the evidence of hard drugs, which particularly concerns residents who receive regular visits from their grandchildren.
Mrs Graham continued: “We get all the drunks round here and one of the neighbours found syringes in the garden along with empty cider cans.
“The council took a fence down because it was somewhere for the druggies to hide behind. The police asked for that a few months ago.
“It’s regular. We get them drinking round here every night. It’s worse in the summer. They seem to range from about eight or nine to 17 or 18.
It’s lads and lasses as well. I don’t know them. They don’t live in this part of Seaham. You just get sick of them.”
A Durham Police spokeswoman said: “The force takes a positive stance on tackling antisocial behaviour and if anyone has any issues regarding such behaviour they should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 0345 6060 365.
“Our figures on reported incidents of antisocial behaviour in the area do not reflect a persistent problem and when they take place they should be reported.
“Antisocial behaviour across Seaham has reduced by 18 per cent compared to last year and overall crime by seven per cent.”
Anyone with information should call Seaham police on 0345 6060 365 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.