Belfast Telegraph

Couple seeks protection from condom tossers

By Helen McDowell

URINE-filled condoms are the latest plague to hit a Belfast couple – on their own doorstep.

Pensioners James and Margaret Pattison have weathered bouts of antisocial behaviour and drug-taking over the years, in the alley behind their home off Bloomfield Avenue, east Belfast.

The latest incident over the weekend has, however, plumbed new depths.

Said Mr Pattison (76): "I got up this morning and said, 'Where is that water coming from'?

"There were condoms full of urine in the gutter of my house."

The items were blocking the gutter, causing water from Sunday evening's heavy downpours to accumulate and spill over, down the couple's outside wall.

The pensioner faced the grim task on Monday morning of retrieving the urine-filled items and disposing of them in the wheelie bin of his home of 46 years.

"They are using them for a toilet. They just throw them in the garden. I sometimes find them in the garden," he told the Community Telegraph.

The alley has been the scene of sporadic problems on and off over the years, said Mr Pattison, including drug-taking, drinking and antisocial behaviour.

Nuisance caused by youths gathering in the alley had abated in recent years, but has begun again lately, prompting Mr Pattison to renew his call for gates to be erected at either end to prevent antisocial elements gaining access.

He has been in touch with east Belfast Alliance MP, Naomi Long, in the hope of securing her help.

She said: "I have been working on behalf of Mr and Mrs Pattison to try to address the very serious and repeated antisocial behaviour affecting them. We got agreement from Belfast City Council to have alley gates installed along Bloomfield Crescent, which would have potentially resulted in a significant reduction of these incidents; however, sadly, issues with the council's contractors in relation to installation have prevented these gates being fitted, leaving residents vulnerable to ongoing attacks.

"Mr and Mrs Pattison should not be left to suffer the consequences in this way. Whilst alley gates would go a long way towards eliminating the problems experienced, I would also appeal to anyone who has information about those behind these attacks to report it to the police and help them deal with those who are making residents' lives a misery."

Belfast City Council has confirmed that the alley behind the Pattisons' home is scheduled to have alley gates fitted as part of the next phase of a £700,000 scheme to fit gates at alleys across the city.

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