A disabled pensioner today claimed her life is being made a misery by teenage yobs in the Sunderland community where she lives.
Audrey Huggins says even the simple daily task of walking her beloved dogs Lucy, Daisy and Jazz has become a nightmare because of kids who target her.
Ms Huggins told the Echo she has been spat at, verbally abused and even had a brick thrown at her on one occasion.
Speaking at her Southwick home the 70-year-old, who suffers from arthritis, says the trouble started back in April after she saw people helping to put out a fire on Marley Pots playing field, where she regularly walks her pets.
“These boys were saying I was a “grass” and that I was going to ring the police but I didn’t,” said Mrs Huggins. “The fire needed putting out.
“But since then it’s been non-stop intimidation. I was nearly punched in the face by one of them who took a swing at me. They just slag me off for no reason, using filthy language.
“It’s getting worse and worse.
“There are hordes of them and they chant things at me. I’ve never retaliated once so I just don’t understand why they do it.”
Ms Huggins says that despite not giving into the intimidation and continuing to go out walking with her dogs, her confidence has suffered as a result of what has happened.
“I’m on the Women’s Institute committee so I’m used to getting up and talking in front of everyone, but this has made me lose all of my confidence,
“When you’re getting this kind of abuse three times a week it’s no surprise.”
Ms Huggins has contacted Northumbria Police about the alleged abuse but she says officers asked her to take photographs of the youngsters, who she believed to all be between 13 and 15, to provide evidence.
Officers say that she has spoken to them while they’ve been out on patrols about the youths.
But Ms Huggins argued: “The police have been no help, they say there’s nothing they can do.
“They said they need photos or they can’t do anything, but if these kids see me taking pictures of them then they might send their parents round.
“I took one once and they started calling me a paedophile.
“The whole thing is very scary and I can’t do anything back.” Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty said: “We recognise the detrimental effect anti-social behaviour can have on members of our communities and how intimidating it can be, especially when people feel they are being specifically targeted and take all reports of this nature very seriously.
“Ms Huggins has spoken to officers while they have been on patrol and mentioned she was concerned about some youths in the area, local officers have offered her support as well as carried out extra patrols to address any issues.
“I would always urge anyone who is concerned about anti-social behaviour, or any other issues in their neighbourhood, to come forward and speak to me and I will work with them and our partner agencies to resolve these concerns.”