Residents in one part of Cardiff say life has become “living hell” after a spate of unsocial behavior that involved a group of teenagers who threw fireworks.
Over the course of several weeks, there have been numerous incidents in St Mellons – east of the city center – where residents said the youths purposely set fireworks on their homes, pets and, most shockingly, people.
The situation in the area has gotten so bad that some people say they are too scared to walk their dogs or leave their homes.
One victim, Chanise Ackerman, who confronted the teenagers, had fireworks thrown at her car – which she and both children had inside.
A shocking video, captured on Tuesday October 27, shows fireworks hitting the floor of Chanise’s car before large clouds of smoke emerge as a group of teenagers watch.
“It’s just hordes and hordes of boys, it’s been going on for weeks,” said Chanise.
“My mom complained that people were setting off fireworks right outside her apartment, so I kept an eye on her.
“On Tuesday we went up there and caught them doing it and then I started filming them. They didn’t like that and they threw fireworks on the car.
“I was so angry and disgusted, to be honest, I had my kids in the car.”
(Image: Chanise Ackerman)
Chanise, 26, has lived in St. Mellons all her life and said she has never seen anti-social behavior like this in the area.
“As angry as I was when it happened, I’m also scared. I get cautious when I go out alone because I don’t want to run into her.
“There is a subway that I used to walk under – I won’t do that now.
“It is not right for them to be able to get these fireworks and do this.”
(Image: Chanise Akerman)
A second resident, who chose to remain anonymous, also said his car was hit by fireworks while they were driving their child.
“I thought I was going to go crazy and yell at these idiots, but I drove home scared and had to take my anxiety medication out of shock. I haven’t used these medications in a long time,” they said.
“Something happens every day. It really starts to meet people – people are afraid to go out, especially the elderly.
“I’ve been here for 20 years and have never seen anything like it.”
A resident, who also wanted to remain anonymous because she was concerned for her safety, said fireworks were thrown at her dog outside Tesco in the village in broad daylight.
She said, I was waiting for my partner with my dog outside Tesco and I saw a large group of boys setting off fireworks a few yards away.
“They saw me and saw that my dog was very scared at the first fireworks display. I decided to walk away from them and wait closer to the store.
“After my partner came back from the store, they set fireworks in our direction that caused it to explode right under our feet.
“My dog was scared and the loud bang hurt our ears. It’s a wonder none of us were seriously injured. The group of teenagers then ran into the field and set off fireworks for the rest of the evening.”
One resident, who did not want to be named, said fireworks were aimed at her house – as smoke came into the kitchen.
“It’s just unreal, they’re everywhere right now,” they said.
“I was in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon and fireworks came over the wall and into the back garden. It was so close to the house that smoke came into the kitchen.
“My daughter ran upstairs to look out the window if she could see anyone and said there was a group of about 14 people.
“It’s terrible and it’s getting worse.
“I have mobility problems, so I’m already vulnerable. It’s just terrible.
“They do it on purpose, they target houses and cars in people’s rides. With me, they hung fireworks on my front wall and fired them right at the house.
“I was afraid the children were all crying.
“We’re all scared of going out, it’s a living hell, we’re all scared of them. I’m already scared of Halloween.
“It’s terrifying and it’s getting out of hand.”
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Several residents in the area said they believed the teenagers were getting the fireworks from a nearby “What!” Business that offered a click and pickup service.
However, store manager Emma Roberts denied that this was the case. She said, “There are definitely no teenagers who buy fireworks in our store.
“We strictly adhere to the 25 rule and under no circumstances do we encourage the risk of losing our license and making purchases by selling to minors.
“I can definitely say that you definitely won’t get them from our store.”
A spokesman for the South Wales Police Department said: “Our officers will continue to be visible in our communities to identify and prevent antisocial behavior and to remind everyone of their obligations under current legislation.
“Welsh government legislation currently prohibits South Wales residents from leaving their homes without a proper apology and meeting with anyone outside their household. The Welsh government has” strongly advised against “any traditional trick or treatment to contain the spread of the virus .
“Our annual #OpBang campaign is designed to remind the public that Halloween and Guy Fawkes Nights are not fun for everyone and with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic understandably heightened concern and fear for some.
“Our officials will continue to be visible in our communities to identify and prevent antisocial behavior and to remind everyone of their obligations under the current legislation.
“Misuse of fireworks is dangerous and can be fatal.
“Police officers will follow the police style used during the pandemic to explain the rules and encourage people to comply.
“We encourage parents to know where their children are and make sure they are obeying the law to ensure everyone can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween and bonfire night.
“Anyone who sees or knows the abuse of fireworks should call our emergency number 101.”
Several household containers were also set on fire in St. Mellons on Thursday, October 30th.
Although it is not known whether the incident was related to the fireworks, the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the fire was “intentionally” started.
(Image: Damon Page)
A spokesman said: “At around 8:50 pm on Thursday, October 29, 2020, we received reports of a garbage fire in Trowbridge, Cardiff.
“Crews from Roath station visited the scene and put out the fire.
“The incident ended at around 9:02 pm, at which point it is believed that the incident was deliberate.”