Jan 23 2013 By Michael Russell
NEIGHBOURS say they feel trapped in their own homes after drinkers and drug users took over their hall and stairwell.
The lock to the communal door in Tintern Court in the Green Man Estate, West Ealing, has been broken for about four years allowing anyone to enter.
One 41-year-old tenant, who asked not to be named says he is frightened of being attacked by the people who now sleep by his stairs and fears for the safety of his wife and two children.
He says most of the neighbours in his four-storey building signed a petition calling for the lock to be fixed but Ealing Council has not taken any action.
He said: "Last week they brought a blanket and chairs, they were setting up a proper little room for themselves. I've called the police so many times but nothing gets done. One time I came down and the police were already here. I couldn't come down the stairs because one of them had died.
"They use the stairs as a toilet, leave cans and a lot of other mess and there's the smell of hashish. You shouldn't have to come back to it when you get home from work. I'd move if I could but I can't afford it."
Neighbours say the loiterers are not always in the stairway but are around more when it gets cold.
Another resident, 46, who lives alone and asked to remain anonymous, added: "They take drugs and you don't know how they're going to behave when you come near them.
Sometimes I have to stay inside instead of going out because I don't want to go past them when they're all sitting around drinking.
"A few times bin bags have been smoking in the rubbish room. They heat up their drugs to take them. I'm worried they're going to cause a fire."
Tintern Court is due to be demolished by 2017 as part of the £140 million regeneration of the Green Man Estate.
Ealing Council says it has sent a letter to residents encouraging them to report the loiterers.
It argues it may not be as simple as installing a new lock as the block's design still allow them to get in through other entries and communal areas.
A spokeswoman said: "We recognise residents’ concerns about anti-social behaviour at Tintern Court and are working with the police and other partners to tackle the issue. This includes investigating whether a cost effective solution can be found which secures all entrances to the building."