'I'm moving out because it's no longer safe' - shocked residents react to shooting outside Sheffield supermarket

Stunned residents have spoken of their horror at a shooting outside a Sheffield supermarket, with one mother telling how she’s leaving the area as she no longer feels safe.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 13:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 17:43 pm

A gun was fired at a car outside the Co-op on Chapel Street in Woodhouse on Monday night, at around 8.10pm, with three people then jumping into the silver-grey estate, which sped away.

Police believe it was a targeted attack but said there were lots of witnesses who were going about their daily business at the time, and one woman told how an innocent bystander was nearly hit coming out of the store.

The crime has shocked many members of the community, though some people said drug-dealing and violence are sadly so rife in the suburb they are no longer surprised to hear of such serious offences happening on their doorstep.

A police cordon outside the Co-op on Chapel Street, Woodhouse, after a shooting on Monday (pic: Chris Etchells)

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One woman, who asked not to be named, said: "It's just getting worse. They're pushing young people who are dealing drugs into the flats.

"I don't feel safe. I feel I daren't come out at night and no community should feel like that.

"I've been here since I was 14 and there was nothing like this when I was at school, but drug dealing and violence has been a real problem around here for the last four or five years.

Police at the scene of a shooting outside the Co-op on Chapel Street in Woodhouse (pic: Chris Etchells)

"You can see them stood on street corners dealing in broad daylight.

"I've been sat on a bench and a girl who can't have been more than 16 came up and asked if I smoke weed because she wanted to sell me some.

"I heard that a young man nearly got hit coming out of the supermarket. Someone was saying that man saw the incident and had to dodge a bullet.”

A pregnant mum-of-one, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve lived here for eight years and it’s gone down drastically during that time. It’s so bad I’m planning to sell my flat and move out of the area.

“I went to the Co-op at around 4.30pm that day with my two-year-old boy, and I dread to think what might have happened had we been there a few hours later.

“You always see police cars driving round here but I can look out of my window and see drug deals going off and nothing gets done.

“It’s so bad round here that sadly nothing surprises me anymore.”

One couple, who also asked to remain anonymous, said: “We’ve lived here for 40 years and we don’t feel safe anymore. It’s grown from a village where everyone knew everyone, and there’s no community now like there used to be.”

And a fourth person said: “It’s very scary because kids are around at that time and anyone could have been hit. There have been problems around here for a while but it’s not just here, it’s everywhere really.”

The shooting happened just around the corner from a lovingly tended community garden beside a bus stop, which volunteers have transformed over the last 18 months from an overgrown wasteland frequented by drinkers and drug users.

They fear incidents like Monday’s shooting threaten to undo their hard work to reclaim the area for law-abiding citizens and help older people feel safe in their neighbourhood, but they are not ready to give up the fight.

One, who asked not to be named, said: “We’re trying to stay positive and support the elderly residents who don’t want to come out because they don’t feel safe. Sadly, this sort of thing is going to make them feel even more vulnerable.

“This garden used to be frequented by people drinking and taking drugs, and people were scared waiting for their bus here. Since we cut the vegetation back people say they feel much safer but something like this really knocks you back.

“Police say it was a targeted attack but if you were going for your pint of milk at night you could have walked into the firing line.”

Another said: “There’s more positive than negative in this community. It’s just unfortunate there’s a group of people who don’t want to fit into the community.“There are a huge number of elderly people in the area and it’s a shame many of them don’t feel safe living here anymore.”

It is not known whether anyone was in the car at the time of the attack, and nobody is known to have been injured, but detectives are working on the ‘assumption’ the vehicle was occupied.

Four men, aged 18, 20, 28 and 43, and a 17-year-old boy, all from Sheffield, have been arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, along with a 25-year-old woman from Rotherham.

Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 and quote incident number 843 of September 30.