Saturday, 21 March 2009

Extreme skipping

Is this extreme skipping?

Peering down over our gangway balcony, Kitchen Sink Neighbour and us quietly observe a local Russian junkie, trawling meticulously through the council block trash. He is sifting to the point of almost falling in just to scrape the very dirt from the floor of the bins.

What is he looking for?

Scrap metal to sell for cash.

He's not the only one after scrap. Later, Kitchen Sink Neighbour tells us she overheard the junkie pointing out to a family of Roma which flats were empty in our block.

As scrap metal selling is an ordinary way to make a living in Roma culture, the empties here must seem like a goldmine. But of course, their presence represents a danger to our neighbourhood.

After all, making a living is one thing (and we're not condemning their cultural choices); but complete strangers coming onto your estate and stealing metal out of flats is another. Not just that, but the theft of water pipes usually causes the flooding of properties beneath the flat being stripped, as a ground-floor flat here discovered on Tuesday.

The scrap thieves need to know this block of flats is not empty and that they can't come here. Except, who's to know when they will come.

It seems like our council block never seems to catch a break. The junkie squat finally shuts down and within days the baton of trouble has passed to scrap metal strippers. Not a way to start the weekend.