Residents says bored youngsters have been running wild on a South Tyneside estate after housing bosses closed off a games park due to health and safety fears.
Margaret Welsh says gangs of children have been roaming the Foxhomes estate, in Jarrow - causing damage to cars, destroying shrubbery and hurling rubbish - ever since the ball park was sealed off in May by Home Group, who manage the estate.
The 63-year-old says she and fellow residents on the estate have endured their worst ever summer as restless children run amok.
But they remain in limbo after being told they will have to foot the bill for repair work themselves.
Home Group say the amenity was owned by Foxhomes Residents’ Association who secured £70,000 Lottery grant to fund the park in 2002 - but the group disbanded over a decade ago.
They say they closed off the park after a child was injured two months ago as a safety measure for residents.
The estate is like Beirut with rubbish thrown all over the place.Margaret Welsh
Mrs Welsh, who has lived on the estate for 14 years, says she feels the youth disorder has been sparked by the ball park closure.
She said: “It is no coincidence that there has been so much trouble since the park was closed.
“It has been the worst summer we have ever had with children playing on the estate and running wild. One child was on the car bonnet of a neighbour, bushes and fencing have been destroyed.
“The estate is a mess with rubbish thrown all over the place.
“I don’t blame the children. They all played in the park and had something to do.
“Now the park is like a rubbish tip, with tyres and bottles thrown in there.
“I would love to see the park open again.
“I wonder what the National Lottery would think about it, they gave all this money and then ten years down the line it’s not being used.
Christine Jeffers, Home Group senior customer services manager, said: “The play area belongs to the Foxhome Residents’ Association which paid for it to be built. The Residents’ Association disbanded in 2004 and Home Group has never adopted the play area.
“As a responsible landlord with a number of homes in the neighbourhood we stepped in to secure the site and prevent children entering after it suffered from neglect and disrepair.
“As a not-for-profit charity it simply wouldn’t be right for us to spend our customers’ money on repairs to facilities we don’t own. We are happy to advise residents and support them on repairs should they chose to undertake them. We don’t tolerate anti-social behaviour and will always take action to tackle it.”