• Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Gang told man to ‘pay protection money’ if he wanted to stay in troubled estate

ByJanice K. Merrill

Jun 11, 2022

Khaled Baleid, one of many residents scared to leave their home in a troubled Merseyside estate, says he receives constant threats and racist abuse and was attacked with a pole

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A man assaulted with a metal bar in an abandoned estate

A man says a gang told him he would have to pay them ‘protection money’ to continue living on an abandoned estate or else his house would be burned down.

Khaled Baleid, 59, who lives at Primrose Court in Huyton, Merseyside, was also left with a broken nose and two black eyes after he was attacked in his driveway with a metal pole.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, he is one of many residents of the struggling estate who are afraid to come out after facing daily threats of racial violence and abuse.

The number of empty houses on Primrose Court has also become a target of arson and fly dumps in recent years, with rubbish piled up in the back gardens and outside in the street.







Khaled Baleid was attacked in his driveway and says gangs told him he had to pay ‘protection’ money to stay safe
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Image:

Andrew Teebay/Echo of Liverpool)


A TikTok of the abandoned housing estate went viral in January and was viewed more than five million times in the space of 24 hours.

Khaled said the number of crimes in the area had escalated in recent months at the hands of a gang who had repeatedly demanded money from him for protection, although he refused to do so.

Khaled said the gang regularly yelled racial slurs at him and his wife, adding: “[They say] ‘We’re going to break your windows, you goddamn bitch.’ You have to pay us if you want to live in this area.

“They say we have to protect you from people, they will burn your house down. I refused and then they started being racist [saying] ‘we are going to burn down your house’.







Khaled after being attacked with a metal bar in his driveway on the estate
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Image:

Khalid Balid)








Primrose Court has a number of empty and derelict houses
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Image:

Echo of Liverpool)


“Why should someone come to your house and threaten you? What did we do about it? We are good innocent people. We told them to leave us alone. I just want them to stay away from me and that we respect each other.”

CCTV footage shows the moment Khaled was attacked in his driveway on May 30, the day after shots were fired from an air rifle at his home. A 17-year-old boy from Liverpool has been charged with criminal damage, intimidation of a witness, racially aggravated criminal damage and causing bodily harm without intent.

He appeared at Merseyside Juvenile Detention Court on Thursday morning and was taken into custody.

Khaled said: “I don’t feel safe but at the same time I am ready to fight for my rights even if they kill me because I have nowhere to go. Recently I got my UK passport, I just got my UK passport, I just want to live in peace.

“I don’t want anyone to come and assault me ​​at my house.”







Residents claim people make money from flying tips on the estate
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)


A man, who lives in the neighborhood but did not want to be named for fear of security, said: “I am afraid to go out here. If I have to go out or go to the supermarket, I tell my wife to call me. after a while to check if something happened.”

After being contacted by the Echo this week, Merseyside Police carried out a day of action at Primrose Court on Friday June 10 to target serious violence and hate crime.

A police spokesperson said: “The day of action follows recent reports of serious violence in the region and aims to reassure vulnerable victims and prevent further criminal harm, racial abuse or antisocial behavior.”

When the problems started

The problems with Primrose Court appear to have started when the development was first built by two private companies which went bankrupt before work on the site was completed. This means that key elements such as street lighting and “proper curbs” have not been installed on the road.

And because the road is unadopted, the duty to maintain it rests with the owners of the properties. A man, who also lives in the area and asked to remain anonymous, said the lack of public lighting attracted criminal activity at night.







Merseyside Police held a ‘day of action’ on Friday to address the issues
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)


The man said people also make money by giving landfills in the area and dumping rubbish in the gardens of empty houses, adding: “They make a lot of money from this and that’s why they don’t want people to move in. because once people move in, they can’t.

“To be honest, when I go home I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel safe.”







Knowsley Council said it was looking at funding opportunities to improve the estate
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Image:

Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)


What action has Knowsley Council taken

In December 2020, Knowsley Council said: “The funding has been secured from the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership and will be used to tackle arson in the area through improved lighting and CCTV.”

When asked for an update on this funding a year later, a council spokesperson said: ‘Prior to the installation of CCTV additional funding is required to regenerate the area and we are continuing to work with our partners to explore potential funding sources.”

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