Life on Bradford's cheapest estate where crime is rife and you 'need your wits about you' - but only after 3pm

Life on Bradford’s cheapest estate where crime is rife and you ‘need your wits about you’ – but only after 3pm

Pensioner Milton Hamilton often strolls through Bradford’s Hawkshead Estate and he’s never had any bother.

The 87-year-old says: “You can go about your business – no one troubles you.”

Milton, who was born in Jamaica and has lived in Bradford for 11 years, isn’t worried about walking through the estate despite what people say about it being riddled with crime.

“It’s quiet – no trouble,” he added.

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Newly released data for the three months up to June shows that the least expensive home in Bradford was a flat on Hawkshead Walk, just off Manchester Road, which sold for £32,500 in May.

Not everyone agrees with Milton’s upbeat assessment of the Hawkshead Estate, however, with some comparing it to the Bronx, the New York neighbourhood once synonymous with violent crime.

“You’ve got to have your wits about you – it isn’t too friendly,” warned one man in his 30s.

Entrance to the Hawkshead Estate, Bradford

He doesn’t want to give his name, preferring to keep a low profile because he’s wary of what he calls the ‘criminal element’.

“The criminal element gets up at 3pm after sleeping all day. Then you will see cars arrive and the drug dealing starts. Cars pull up and deals take place.

“You have got to be on guard, that’s why we don’t get much sleep. It is noisy at night, you can hear glass breaking.”

There are some upsides, he says. The estate is within walking distance of the city centre and the Pictureville Cinema which has a giant IMAX screen.

“We are close to the cinema and the Science and Media Museum.”

Overflowing bins are a problem on the Hawkshead Estate, Bradford, according to residents

He says the estate now appears to receive more sunlight thanks to the demolition of some neighbouring blocks of high-rise flats.

But naive passers-by who don’t stay alert can fall victim to crime, he says.

“I have seen all sorts. I have seen people being mugged in broad daylight for their phones and bags.

“I have seen ‘office-type’ people walking up Manchester Road being threatened and mugged. On the plus side, you can walk to Lidl and the cinema.”

Not everyone on the estate is fearful of crime, although they are aware of it.

Enter your postcode to see crimes reported in your area

One man, who moved to Bradford from Slovakia, said the estate was quiet and a convenient place to live: “It’s very close to the bus station, rail station and the city centre. And Morrison’s is not far away.”

And he said the litter did not bother him.

He now owns a flat on the estate, works in the building trade and is happily settled in Bradford with his girlfriend.

Uncollected rubbish outside a house being renovated

One man, who gave his name as Frederick, 32, said he liked living on the estate, even though it did have some problems.

“I don’t mind it, me,” he said. But it’s like the ****ing Bronx lately.”

Asked why it was like the Bronx, he pointed to wooden boards which separate the estate from where the high rise flats once stood.

“They should take the boards down,” he added.

Boards on the edge of the Hawkshead Estate which were put up during the demolition of high rise flats

Some residents said they were proud of their houses and gardens.

“I am proud of my house,” said one woman in her 60s, “but I am not proud of this estate.”

The pensioner, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was sick of youths who keep setting fire to rubbish in and around the playground.

“There are a lot of burglaries around here and fires in the open. It is too rowdy.

“A lot of pensioners have moved out. A friend didn’t like the area and moved. She was having trouble with people in cars throwing rubbish around.”

The house proud pensioner blames some of the estate’s problems on ‘outsiders’ who visit during the evening ‘to smoke drugs in their cars and throw litter out of the window’.

Some residents say the Hawkshead Estate is plagued by fly-tippers and litterbugs
(Image: Andrew Robinson)

“We have caught on them on CCTV urinating on the fence. We were told that they had been fined. We don’t see the police much unless it’s something really bad.”

She claims that outsiders are using the estate to ‘doss’.

“They sit in their cars eating takeaways. They get out and p*** on the fence. None of them live here.”

“We also get kids setting fire to bins and they don’t live round here either.”

People who live just outside the estate are even more disparaging about it.

Parade of shops on Manchester Road, Bradford

One woman said: “It’s a s***hole. It’s full of druggies and alcoholics. If you spend a day there you will think the same as me.”

She added: “It is disgusting – it is a dumping ground. People just don’t have any respect for the area. There are a lot of drugs around there. You can tell by the people – they have no weight on them at all.”

In the Last Stop Cafe on Manchester Road, which is on the edge of the estate, staff were busy making sandwiches and cups of tea.

The cafe manager, who did not want to be named, said business was good.

“It’s steady away. We do deliveries and we have our regulars. Manchester Road isn’t very pretty and it hasn’t got a good name because there are so many accidents.

“But we get passing trade and business is steady.”

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