LEEDS STUDENTS' ALL-NIGHT 'COVID PARTIES'
 

On Wednesday 1 July 2020, an article was posted by Mark Lavery in the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Leeds students' all-night 'Covid parties' are 'beyond unbearable' says Hyde Park resident

Members of a Hyde Park residents group say they have not slept for three weeks because of 'selfish' students'  having regular all-night 'Covid parties' during the  lockdown.

A Moorlands Residents Group spokeswoman said there are also problems with drug dealers operating in broad daylight in areas of Hyde Park.

Residents say they have made a number of calls to police and Leeds City Council's noise nuisance team in recent weeks about students' parties in the St John's Grove and Moorlands Avenue areas.

Grandmother Victoria Jaquiss - a music teacher, writer and musician - who has lived on Moorland Road for 33 years - said students have been playing loud music until the early hours and urinating in the street and gardens.

Ms Jaquiss said students went home in March, but returned around three weeks ago and stayed during the hot weather.

Ms Jaquiss, who spoke on behalf of the Moorlands Residents Group, said the morning after parties her street is littered with broken glass, vomit, condoms and beer cans.

Ms Jaquiss, who is a former Leeds University student, said six drug dealer's business cards were posted through the letterbox at her family's home in early April.

She said there are regular student house parties while pubs and clubs are closed.

Ms Jaquiss said: "We call them Covid parties. These last three weeks when they were having parties five nights a week, it was beyond unbearable."

"There's a collective feeling in our area that the authorities have forgotten about us."

"When you hear a party starting up and you think it is not going to stop at 11pm your anxiety levels go through the roof.

"On Friday night my daughter was woken at 6am by a partygoer screeching.

"There is no social distancing. There are endless numbers of them together.

"We have had no sleep for three weeks and it affects your ability to work and look after your children. It affects your mental health."

Ms Jaquiss said there are also problems with inconsiderate parking, graffiti, fly tipping and wheeled bins being left out on streets.

She said: "There’s drug dealers pulling up in the street as we sit in the daytime with our kids and grandkids on their scooters and watch small packets exchange hands out of car windows.

"Sometimes the drugs are delivered to the door, only they get the wrong door – it can be rather a frightening experience.

She added: "We think drug dealers are targeting vulnerable students in this area. They see students as easy prey because they are not used to looking after themselves."

Alison McNeill, who has lived on Moorland Avenue for more than 20 years, said: "I haven't had any sleep for three weeks because the students have been partying night after night.

"Noise nuisance has come out and police have come out and they turn the music off for ten minutes but then it goes back on.

"Whilst we have been following government guidelines and shielding the vulnerable on our street, these students have come back and have partied and partied."

She added: "For me, the number of houses of multiple occupancy need to be reduced drastically in the area."

Ms Jaquiss said: "We would like all residents and all agencies - council, university, landlords/landladies, police - to play their part fully in making Hyde Park a safe place to live in again, where students and long-term residents can live together in mutual respect. Because it is not all students, and these selfish party-goers are giving all students a bad name"

In a joint statement, a spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council, said: “West Yorkshire Police officers and Leeds City Council’s noise nuisance team visited a number of addresses in the Hyde Park area on Friday which had been subject to complaints.

“As a partnership, the council and police are now actively monitoring the addresses and there was an increased police presence over the weekend, which will continue.

“Student house parties unfairly impact on the lives of other people in the community, and the police work closely with Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team using noise abatement and closure order legislation to shut premises and seize equipment to address this issue.

“Officers from our local neighbourhood policing teams regularly act on community information about drug dealing and execute warrants to arrest and seize drugs on a daily basis.

"Information from our communities is a vital part of our efforts to tackle the supply of drugs, and we would always encourage anyone who is offered drugs or has any information about those involved in supplying drugs to contact us directly or independent charity Crimestoppers.

“There is also the added risk of the ongoing threat of coronavirus, which also raises concern. While house parties and antisocial behaviour causes disruption at any time, it clearly creates an additional unnecessary risk to public health amid the pandemic.

“Though some rules have been relaxed, we urge the public to remember the threat has not gone away. Coronavirus remains a deadly disease and we would ask that people recognise the risks their behaviour can create and urge them to behave responsibly in line with the current restrictions.”

A University of Leeds spokesman said: “We take anti-social behaviour very seriously and are continuing to work extremely closely with Leeds City Council, the police and community representatives to both deal with this incident, and also to minimize and mitigate against potential effects.

“While the majority of our students act responsibly and bring many positive benefits to their communities, we are able and prepared to take action against those found engaging in anti-social behaviour.

“We also operate a neighbourhood helpline service to respond to any neighbourhood issues, so anyone experiencing problems can contact us via telephone (24hr voicemail service) 0113 343 1064.”