This was the alarming moment a man wielded a toy gun in a city centre street ‘overrun with aggressive druggies’.
Daniel Boulton, aged 28, and his 24-year-old partner Ryan Harrison took photos of the disturbing scene from their flat in Percy Street, one of the busiest shopping streets in Hanley.
Just a day earlier, the couple had witnessed two men shooting up and others smoking crack below their window.
They say their sleep is often interrupted by the sounds of shouting and fighting from outside.
And they have even discovered pools of blood and used needles outside their entrance.
Now Daniel is calling on the police to step up patrols in the area to help residents and shoppers feel safe.
The Samsung worker, who has lived in the flat for one-and-a-half years, said: “It’s always the same group. There’s about five of them who hang out although they’re not always all there.
“I kept hearing a noise going off, a popping sound. I looked outside and there was a guy holding a makeshift air rifle. I was quite alarmed until I realised it was a toy gun. It was realistic and at least 30cm long.
“My worry is that if they went into a shop holding it, people might be too scared to realise it’s a toy straight away.
“The police told us they would send someone but no-one came. I then received a message to say to let them know if I saw them again.
“They have started sleeping in the doorway of the Auctioneer pub. They are always zonked out there. They hang around all day and night.
“We got woken up at 4am by screaming and shouting the other night. There seemed to have been some sort of fight. There was blood in our doorway.
“It’s more of a nuisance than anything as they can be quite aggressive and intimidating. They pester you for money and cigarettes.
“People’s fears are heightened at the moment. There are more people back in Hanley and you don’t want this sort of thing happening. It’s not a nice enviroment.”
The couple alerted the police to the incident involving the toy gun at around 10pm on Saturday (June 20).
It was the second time they had cause to call 101 in the space of 24 hours.
Daniel added: “We heard a noise and we looked out and saw these men rummaging around in a bag of needles before two them injected themselves.
“The police said they would send someone to investigate. I tried to give them as much information as possible so they could track them down but they didn’t really seem interested.
“I saw them drive past but they didn’t even stop. No officers called or knocked on.
“The same group then came back and were doing the same thing again.
“It’s not a nice thing to see when you look out of your window.
“We’ve recently signed for another six months on the flat. We can’t blame the landlord but we’re worried about living here now. It’s been getting worse over lockdown.
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“It can be a little bit scary just to leave your own home. You never know what you’re going to find.
“I don’t want to tread on a dirty needle as I go to work or have to step over someone.
“We don’t really know where to turn but I do think the police need to step up patrols.”
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “The man who reported it and sent the photos said it was a toy gun and made the noise of a toy gun.”
Anyone with concerns about anti-social behaviour is asked to call Staffordshire Police on 101.