Drug dealing, fighting and public sex are a common sight, according to residents on a “scary” street in one of London’s poshest boroughs.
A Paddington man, who did not wish to be named, said he said he had to install shutters and fencing around his property after people had sex on his doorstep.
He said: “There’s lots of anti-social activity here. It’s been an issue from day one.
“I’ve been here 17 years and it’s been a problem the whole time. My daughter doesn’t come out if there’s anyone there.”
He claimed that Norfolk Square and Talbot Gardens were popular spots for drug dealing and sex work.
Read more: The London benches used ‘by pimps for drug dealing and sex work’ that locals want removed
And claimed the gated public gardens are often used because they are badly lit.
He explained: “They shut at 7pm but people just jump over the fence.”
The man thinks more should be done by police and healthcare workers to tackle deep-rooted issues with mental health, substance abuse and sexual exploitation.
He added: “I have complained many times to the council and police. But there’s no police activity around here.
“We have got the pimps, the prostitutes and the drug dealers. It’s a vicious circle that’s not being addressed.”
Westminster Labour councillors say they have asked police to investigate anti-social behaviour at Talbot Square.
A newsletter by Westminster Labour Group says: “Talbot Square is fast becoming a centre for drug dealing.
“Despite requests for the authorities to deal with this clear and obvious escalation nothing is being done.
“What was a tranquil and pretty garden square frequented by University students from the nearby halls of residence is now a meeting point for drug dealers and users.
“Unless something is done this situation will continue to deteriorate attracting users from further afield with all the obvious ramifications for us all.”
The newsletter also says there are issues with Praed Mews, a narrow residential street where people are allegedly having sex and going to the toilet.
It says: “We have had ongoing issues of fly-tipping, drug use, rats, prostitution and using the mews as a toilet for the last year or so.
“Really not nice to have on your doorstep.”
People living on nearby Southwick Street are urging Westminster City Council to get rid of two benches next to their homes, claiming they are used by drug dealers and sex workers.
Local Labour councillor Paul Dimoldenberg said: “The benches tend to get abused in the late evening and early morning by people involved in anti-social behaviour.
“The area is well-known for prostitution and has been for decades.
“So it’s where these people congregate and they often take their customers into the mews round the side, which is quiet and off the beaten track.”
A 25-year-old woman who has always lived locally told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There’s a lot of drug use around here.”
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: “We get homeless people running up and down shouting at 3am and 4am. It’s a bit scary.”
A spokesperson for the Met said: “We are aware of concerns raised from the local community about prostitution and associated anti-social behaviour in and around these areas. Tackling this is among our top ward priorities.
“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing teams regularly patrol hotspot areas and will continue to do so – where criminal offences are identified then those responsible will be prosecuted.
“We also work closely with the local authority, charities and support groups to ensure woman identified as being involved in prostitution can access the network of support available to them.”
A Westminster City Council spokesperson said: “Any crime or anti-social behaviour is completely unacceptable and residents should not have to put up with criminal activity outside their homes.
“We have looked at this issue extensively and recently conducted a door-knocking exercise to get the views of local people.
“We are considering plans to move the benches to another location nearby and we will continue to work with the police to monitor criminal and anti-social behaviour in the area.”