I have been a lifelong resident of Chesterfield. My Mum and Dad still live in the house where in the early 70s I came into the world kicking and screaming, writes Christopher Siddall-Moss.
I have always loved the town. The hustle and bustle of the market in the late 70s and 80s. The shops and the nightlife which I so indulged in during my late teens and well into my 30s.
A place for Pound a Bag man and the Ayres stall market traders drumming up business with their shouts of two punnets of strawberries for £2.
When I did travel away I remember coming down the Hasland bypass and catching a glimpse of the crooked spire and knowing I was nearly home.
But recently there has been a scourge that is starting to plague my beautiful birthplace.
Gangs of mostly youths and a few young women causing harassment, alarm and distress to local people. I am told they are called “Spice Heads.”
They smoke a synthetic drug that makes them virtual zombies.
They are bullying people for money, tobacco and intimidating. They are making lone people uncomfortable and fearful for their personal safety late at night.
I witnessed this at first hand. A group of them stood staring at passers-by, asking for tobacco and cash and drinking alcohol on the footpath towards Rose Hill opposite Future Walk.
I also noticed they had set up camp outside the old courthouse (pictured) with tents and what appeared to be camping stoves.
There must have been at least 15 of them in various degrees of either drunk or off their heads.
When a town loses its reputation as a tourist destination it is rarely mended.
It’s time that local people said enough is enough.
Chesterfield deserves better than this.
We do not need empty words and hollow promises about schemes that may help. We certainly do not need a ludicrous situation where you do not deal with the issue and instead spend money on modifying a bus stand so they can’t use it.
As a lifelong resident I demand action.