TAUNTON officials have gathered to try and find a solution to crime and anti-social behaviour throughout the town.

But what have residents reported happening in their every day lives? Here’s a few snippets of what the council committee was told:

READ MORE: Spitting, assaults and drug deals: How do we fix Taunton's crime problem?

  • David Malcolm, from Rowcliffes, said he’d been broken into twice by the same man in the last two months - costing £1,000 a time.He said: “I have had to update security because the insurance people aren’t happy. The security fitter said it was absurd because the only place you’d find this kind of security is a bank. My staff are afraid to walk up East Reach on their lunch breaks."
  • Philippe Messy said: “Not being British, I have been told to **** off back to my country. I have witnessed more than five times drug dealing the most shocking one was in front of my kid’s school.
  • Simon Midge said: “As a former police officer of 23 years and former member of the town centre team i feel that it is unsafe to take my young family into the town given the presence of aggressive beggars, street drinking and drunkenness, open and unashamed drug dealing and use to the point we will travel to Bristol to shop, the town centre is feral and has been declining over the last few years.”
  • Melanie and Richard Sekules spoke for traumatic experiences in which they were assaulted. Mr Sekules works at his tattoo shop on Each Reach with the door closed, he takes a packed lunch so he doesn’t have to leave the shop, and regularly witnesses drug deals, public urination and members of the public being refused. He says he was ‘savagely attacked’ outside his shop at 11am by two youths. He had to face his children with two black eyes after the attack. Mel has been spat at and shouted at while out in town with her baby, and now avoids going into town.
  • Celia Rowan, who works in the town centre, said: “I find it harder and harder to do my real job, as I now spend so much of my working day, chasing drug and alcohol addicted thieves from the shop where I work. If I leave the shop for a lunch break, I am constantly pestered for money or cigarettes, by these same people.
  • Tina Ball wrote about her experience being singled out and shouted at by a group of drug users in the town. She said: “ I don’t consider myself sheltered or frail in any manner, but this experience was genuinely  terrifying. “What makes the whole thing worse is this is town where I live.”
  • Gina Collins said: “Just last week I was at the ATM and one of the rough sleepers came up to me and another older lady and in a very rough voice shouted ‘ you owe me money’’ ‘’I want it now’’ really hassling us.”