Street drinkers force store to quit Sheffield district

Devonshire Green, Sheffield.
Devonshire Green, Sheffield.
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A retailer is set to move out of a Sheffield shopping district because of problems with street drinkers and drug users.

Mail Boxes Etc on Eldon Street, Devonshire Green, is finding new premises away from the area – partly because of issues in the area relating to anti-social behaviour.

Store owner Frank Bigley says he believes the area is getting worse.

“It’s gone downhill around here, noticeably, in the last two years, with the number of incidents of drinking and drug abuse on the green,” he said.

“That’s part of the reason we want to move.

“The green has become an area for drug-taking and anti-social behaviour, and it seems as if it is gradually deteriorating.

“It sometimes feels like it’s a deliberate policy to move ‘difficult’ people, or people who take drugs or drink alcohol, into this area.”

The Star revealed in October that traders were worried over ‘street drinkers fighting, defecating and discarding heroin needles’.

Shop owners claimed they had endured their ‘worst summer ever’.

Traders near the green have already formed an action group with a poster campaign being planned in a bid to tackle the problems.

Mr Bigley said the shop is looking to move to Queen Street, which is also a cheaper unit for the store.

He called on police to do more, adding: “There was some problem in September between two groups of drinkers and it basically kept the police occupied all the time.

“The green was an alcohol exclusion zone, but I don’t think existing powers are being enforced.

“There is a problem with graffiti and people bringing dogs to the area that look like they are being bred for fighting.

“I don’t think there’s any magic bullet.

“I am sure police have better things that they could be doing than scraping drinkers off the pavement.

“They are doing a difficult job under tough circumstances and they are having to struggle to keep on top of it.”