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Heated debate over ‘tensions’

Kashmir Malik speaks out during debate about tensions between community and Eastern European migrants.

Kashmir Malik speaks out during debate about tensions between community and Eastern European migrants.

Officials were warned tensions between residents of a Sheffield suburb and Eastern European migrants could boil over unless urgent action is taken.

About 100 people gathered at the Pakistan Advice Centre on Page Hall Road, Page Hall, to discuss troubles facing the area after an influx of Roma and Slovakian economic migrants in recent years.

Problems raised ranged from litter and fly-tipping to ‘intimidating’ groups of 20 to 30 people on the streets and child protection issues including prostitution and a recent case of a young girl being abducted by older men.

The girl has been found safe and suspects have been arrested over the abduction, police said.

Other issues included up to 15 residents living in small houses and groups playing music late at night.

During the meeting, Insp Simon Leake, of the area safer neighbourhood policing team, told residents he was ‘sympathetic’ to their concerns.

He said actions so far include a dispersal order allowing police to break up groups acting in an anti-social manner, and a recent clean-up day.

But Kashmir Malik, aged 34, a voluntary worker and restaurant owner from Robey Street, said: “Tensions are building on the streets. You need to do something about the problems or something else is going to occur.

“We want our streets back and you should help us. You need to do something or it will be too late.”

Jane Howarth, aged 49, an assistant bar manager from Grimesthorpe, claimed she had seen child prostitution and girls as young as 12 having sex with older men near playing fields.

Residents claimed police were only using dispersal orders against white, black and Asian groups and ignoring Roma men gathering on streets.

But Insp Leake said police could only act if groups were acting anti-socially.

 

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