People in a County Durham village have expressed their concerns about crime in the area after a man was found dead.
The male’s body was discovered at a property on Alexandra Terrace in Wheatley Hill on Monday morning.
Officers taped off a back street and there seven police vehicles were seen parked up. Crime scene investigators have also been conducting checks at the scene.
Durham Constabulary has launched an investigation into the death of the man and the force is appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Business owners and residents, who do not wish to be named due to fear of reprisals, have told Chronicle Live how crime in the village has got significantly worse in recent years.
One resident, who lives near the taped off area, said: “It’s a bit unnerving. I have never been in the back street and I have no intention of doing that. I’m worried about what could happen. It is very intimidating.”
Another resident said a hostel opened in the area around two years ago. He said the building used to be a nursey but is now accommodation for the homeless.
He said: “Nobody wanted it. There’s been nothing but trouble since.”
The man said a lot of the people who live nearby are pensioners and they are all frightened. He added: “It’s a disgrace. They’ve only recently put about seven cameras up. Literally once a month every single window is put out.”
A business owner said the crime in the area is impacting her business. She said: “It’s just terrible, I don’t know what’s happened. I have been here over nine years and it’s just getting worse. I’m used to it around here now. Every weekend there is something. There’s been a house torched and houses have been vandalised.
“I don’t work past it going dark as I’m frightened. Customers are frightened to come down into Front Street because they don’t know what will happen. It’s not a nice area to come to. Luckily I have a lot of good customers who are regular customers and a lot of my customers are from Wheatley Hill.”
Another business owner, who has been operating in the area for around two-and-a-half years, says customers are moving away due to the increase in crime.
He said: “There’s a rehabilitation centre here now and when I bought the property it wasn’t there. Since it’s opened here I don’t even bring the kids here.
“Wheatley Hill has completely changed in the time I have been here. It was a lovely little village. Now it’s really bad. I don’t let my kids even go to the park. Many customers have moved now. There are a few saying that they’re going to move as well.”
Another woman, who works in one of the local shops, added: “It’s horrendous here due to all of the fighting. I knew something bad had happened, there was a lot of police.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Durham Constabulary on 101 quoting incident number 92 of May 1.
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