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  • Ball Games, Ball Games & Ball Games

    Hi

    My story has been going on for several years and concerns the playing of ball games, as you may have guessed by the title.

    My partner and I live in a private house at the end of a terrace. Our front garden has picket fencing and rear garden has six foot panels.

    Over the past few years our nice neighbours have gradually moved away and their houses bought by a local Housing Association. Needless to say the new occupants have their little angels with them. Alongside our fencing is a piece of council owned land, only about 15ft wide and used to be planted with small trees etc. It has now become common practice for all the little darlings to use this area as a football pitch. I am talking of children from 6 to 16 years old. Their balls are constantly banging against the fence, coming into the garden, damaging plants etc. We used to throw the balls back, sometimes up to 10 times a day, but the situation has got out of hand that my partner now puts a knife in them and puts them in the bin.

    Last summer we arrived home to find a 6ft gap in our fence. On calling the police, they discovered that two youngsters had entered our garden to retrieve their balls themselves whilst we were out.

    We have since paid £700 to have all new fencing put up, and guess what, within 3 months the panels are already showing signs of damage.

    I have written to the council, lobbied my councillors, called the police, and nothing has happened. The council say there is no by-law to stop the playing of ball games, the police say that unless criminal damage happens then they are powerless and my local councillor keeps talking to the council.

    The problem is now that because I have the audacity to go out and tell the little angels to stop kicking their balls against out property, the parents have all ganged up against myself and my partner to the extent that they clap and cheer when they see the balls banging the fences. I was actually arrested a few months ago when the NFH concocted a story about me throwing stones at their little darlings and all the NFH joined together in support. Fortunately the police had records of my concerns and complaints and could see that this was a retaliation move on their part.

    Our property has devalued because of this....I mean...who would want to live like this.

    Our lives are now a permanent living hell, and the stress we feel in near breaking point, but we just cannot see a way out.

  • #2
    Yes i know your problem, i was a happy happy home owner, in a lovely detached house with a large garden, i was in paradise, until they started to build houses at the back of me, yes they were for housing association tenants, and then they have put the neighbours from hell at the back of me, they are diry, unkempt, the house is more or less now a slum house, hard to believe it is only about 18 months old, graffit on the walls etc, guttering broken, they takes drugs, the house is used for the local riff raff, and now they have damaged my fencing at the bottom. oi have patched it up,anyhow i e-mailed the Housing Association, and my my i got a e-mail back saying they had called to look at the damaged fence and yes they were prepared to renew the fencing as they said their tenant had broken it. Today another play with our football day, and next minute i heard a horrible noise their football had hit my conservatory, i was blazing, i am lucky i had the money just to go out and buy another property but with our savings which was for our old age, as we are nearly 59 and hubby is nearly 60, i bet your lot are mainly women, and horrible ones at that and their kids well what can i say, just keep fighting, write to the top, dont deal with the lower orders LOL, so sorry about your plight.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi,

      I have a suggestion. If the land at the side of your house belongs to the local council they should take responsability for what it is used for and their insurance company should be required to pay your cost of a replacement fence. Give it a try because when it comes to paying out money they tend to sit up and do some thing.



      good luck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dragonfly@Apr 24 2003, 10:31 PM

        Their balls are constantly banging against the fence, coming into the garden, damaging plants etc...Last summer we arrived home to find a 6ft gap in our fence...We have since paid £700 to have all new fencing put up, and guess what, within 3 months the panels are already showing signs of damage...called the police, they say that unless criminal damage happens then they are powerless
        Hi and welcome to the board Dragonfly



        I'm sorry that you're having all these problems with the football's / kids / their parents.



        From what you said, it sounds like criminal damage to your property has happened and is continuing? So why have the Police said there is nothing they can do? I would be tempted to speak to your local Community Police Officer and explain everything to them to see if there is any action they can take.



        I would suggest that as soon as any damage happens, you photograph it. The Police will always tell you they can do nothing without evidence. Have you thought about putting up a CCTV camera (which covers your garden area and fence)?



        Is it mainly one family or a few of them? If there is one main culprit, have you thought about talking to a Solicitor? An initial warning letter to this family may help.



        You mention that these kids/ parents are living in Housing Association (HA) accommodation. If you know which one and their address/ office, I would also be tempted to write and/or visit them to explain the nuisance that their tenants are causing. Make sure you keep copies of anything you write.



        I'm sure that other members who are experiencing similar problems to you will be able to offer a lot more advice. Keep coming back to see what they say and to let us know how you get on.



        The whole situation sounds like a nightmare and you are very strong to have got this far.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi dragonfly and welcome to the board



          You have my uttmost, total sympathy. I know just how frustrating it can be to have yobs with footballs making your life a misery.



          I know it's a pain, but please keep a diary of everything that happens. If possible get the names and addresses of the little yobs. Sometimes you won't be able to get names, so put down descriptions. Not just of the little thugs but of their parents who seem to think its all good sport. Go to the HA offices and tell them you want something done, also put it in writing. I've been told that there's no point in putting up 'no ball games' notices as they are not legally enforceable. But if you are being disturbed by the yobs, call the police. And call them every time it happens! If the police have told you there is nothing that can be done, write a letter to the Chief Constable.



          You say you've approached your local councillors, but have you approached your local MP? I'm not saying it will get it all stopped, but HA's are more likely to listen to an MP than an ordinary member of the public. Do any of your other neighbours have problems or are sympathetic to yours? If so, try to get them to keep diaries as well.



          You said the police said that unless criminal damage occurs they can't do anything? Well what is having to fork out £700 to replace damaged fencing? Could you paint the top of the fence with vandal proof paint? As long as you put up a notice stating it is there it is perfectly legal. Perhaps you should seek legal advice as to the devaluation of your property caused by HA tenants. You can get the first half hour with a solicitor free and he/she might be able to give you some good advice.



          You could also try and get the press involved, or at the very least write a letter to your local newspaper. If you are worried about reprisals you could ask for your name and address to be witheld. I know I got a lot more action after one of my letters was published in the national press and I threated to write something for the local paper.



          You might also consider Holly's suggestion about cctv, however it seems from another member that cctv isn't necessarily the answer as her HA refused to accept her tapes as evidence.



          It's easy for people to tell you to move but sometimes this isn't an option, especially if your home is worth a lot less that it should be because of NFH. Basically, I'm telling you to make yourself a flippin* nuisance to the HA and police and tell them you won't stop until they do something, in a diplomatic way of course



          Good luck and please come back often, you'll get a lot of support from members here.



          Misty
          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Dragonfly,



            I am all in favour of slow puctures!!



            I can see it from both sides, no where decent to play and the damage and grief they cause.



            this is not really my strong point but I know you will get good advice and support here!

            Comment


            • #7
              DRAGONFLY



              Whatever you do, you must stop your partner from knifing the footballs. The balls do not belong to you and this is criminal damage. It makes you the guilty party.



              I was advised by the Police to hand in any footballs as "Found Property."



              They will ask you if you have any idea who the balls belong to and you should happily be able to tell them, "Well, perhaps, maybe, it could be..." The Police should understand but your neighbours may not!



              You will be given a receipt for anything you hand in to the Police, which you can then give to your neighbours on any enquiry. This will enable them to recover their property. I'm sure questions will be asked!



              I don't know the intensity of your problem but you must try to remain within the law yourself.



              I have disposed of tens of balls without ill effect but with the law being as it is, you need to be very careful.



              In my case, when the NFH learned what I was doing, they threw a wobbly and I had to call the Police to remove them from my land. Still, it's worth a try.



              All this football thing with people like us disposing of balls one way or another makes me wonder, how the hell do these people afford the constant replacement. Perhaps we could form a company producing balls, we'd be millionaires overnight!



              Thornyside.
              THORNYSIDE



              http://homepage.ntlworld.com/thornyside

              Comment


              • #8
                Dragonfly,



                Hello and welcome. Sorry to hear about your plight.



                One thing springs to my mind... Mediation.



                You are in a relatively fortunate situation in that it seems that sane human beings with reasonable wants from life are involved.



                You don't want your private property violated. Totally fair point.

                The neighbouring kids, supported of course by their parents, want to play somewhere and let off the energy of youth. With the other perils of the world, football seems a good option for them.



                Things have deteriorated to a point where people aren't respecting eachother. Unfortunately it is very difficult to hold a reasoned debate with kids who just want to play. Knives in balls can only make things worse.



                As the police have been involved a good community bobby may be able to help, otherwise the council's housing dept. may have some facilities. In achieving mediation it may be likely that fences can be mended, quite literally. Perhaps the council might pay for a chain-link fence outside yours to protect it. You should not be taking sole financial responsibility for this community recreation.



                My senses tell me that getting ball games banned there will only create more misery. The kids could end up targetting you after that, which would be pretty awful.



                Good luck, hope you get it sorted out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you all for your comments.

                  We have already been to mediation with one neighbour suggested by the local police. He agreed with everything we said and it was suggested that all the neighbours attend a mediation session. Unfortunately none of the others wanted to know and it fizzled out to nothing.

                  I have now got a meeting with the council after writing 12 letters to them. I do not hold out much hope unfortunately.

                  Thanks all

                  Alan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Drgonfly,



                    glad you have a meeting on the horizon,

                    write everything you want to say down in note form, just to remind yourself.



                    I hate coming out of meetings thinking Doh!...should of said that and was going to ask so and so!



                    good luck and let us know how it goes

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just to let you know, we had a meeting last night with our local council, the local police officer and our councillor.

                      The long and short of it was that we 'had' to give the balls back, couldn't even take them to the police station for the little brats to collect them from there.

                      The council are going to send a letter to all of the NFH concerned and tell them that their little angels can play ball games but must not cross a certain line, i.e. damage property, and the police will talk to the parents.

                      Sceptical.....me....I have heard all this before, and guess what...nothing.

                      So...I won't hold my breath, but just wait and see....

                      Thanks all for reading this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi again Dragonfly



                        At least the Council said they would write out to all the nfh. I suppose now it's just a waiting game for two things:



                        - to see if they are true to their word and do write, and

                        - to see if the letters have the desired effect



                        I hope for your sake that it does resolve the problems. If it doesn't just keep at them. If there's any future damage to your property make sure that you call the Police and notify the Council.



                        Hope it works. Fingers crossed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dragonfly, I can feel the frustration and depression in your post. I've trodden that path for a good few years now. Letters don't work! Pure and simple. Telling your NFH kids they can still play football in the same place will merely reinforce their attitude that 'we can do what we like'!



                          So, you can't take the footballs back to the police station? Well they can't, by law enter your property. So the simple solution is to let them lie where they fall. You have no obligation to return them, however I suppose if you don't they'll just plague you anyway.



                          I don't know if you read my post in the rants folder. We had two policewomen actually join in with the kids playing football in the street! It's like a kick in the teeth!



                          I wish I could sound more hopeful, but I think you're in for a long wait to get any positive action out of your council and police. However, would urge you not to give up. Keep those diaries and if possible get some sort of cctv equipment. Good luck



                          Misty
                          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

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