Residents on a Rotherhithe estate are said to be living in fear after youths set fire to a rubbish chute and smashed the handles off fire exit doors.
Trouble is said to have begun at Regina Point – a tower block on the Canada Estate – when handles were smashed off the inside of fire exit doors and a small fire was started just over a week ago.
A “spate of anti-social behaviour” followed and, after a rubbish chute was set alight in the latest incident on Sunday, the chair of the estate’s tenants’ and residents’ association has now called for those responsible to be stopped.
“It started the other week really badly when they broke the handles off the fire exits in the tower block and set a little fire up there,” said Barry Duckett.
“Then on Sunday someone set the bin chute alight and the smoke went billowing up and obviously people thought it was another big fire like Grenfell.
“You can imagine how people are feeling in tower blocks and it’s wrong.
“It’s not vandalism – it goes beyond that now. It’s actually life-threatening when people do that.
“People are living in fear, not only of crime now, but of fire and these kids need to be stopped.”
“People are frightened,” the 67-year-old said. “On Sunday a lot of people came out of their block very quickly.
“The problem is this isn’t just vandalism: this is a twenty-storey building with one exit and they are setting bins alight.”
A tin of paint was also thrown from one of the higher floor windows, he told the News. Barry said: “Imagine a big tin of paint coming from seventeen floors. These kids have got to realise that it isn’t being funny.”
A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “We were called to a bin chute alight at 2.40pm on January 14. It was a small fire and the incident was over at 2.53pm.”
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for communities, leisure and safety, said: “Our housing teams have been quick to respond to any fire safety issues and repaired any damage caused by this kind of mindless and dangerous behaviour.
“I would encourage the community to continue to report any issues to the council and police, they can report antisocial behaviour on 020 7525 5777.
“Arson should always be reported immediately to the fire brigade.
“We are already looking into the matter to see if any residents are breaching their tenancy agreement or if our safer neighbourhoods team can do anything to help prevent further antisocial behaviour.”