by Chris Hunter
A grandmother evicted for “making life a misery” for her neighbours says she has been made a scapegoat.
Police and housing officers entered the property in Drawbridge Close, Park Wood, to evict Lesley Hoadley after countless complaints.
Neighbours say the 55-year-old grandmother and her family have made life “pure hell”, with accusations of intimidation, threatening behaviour, criminal damage and noise nuisance.
But when police raided, Mrs Hoadley was not there. She decided to pre-empt police action and get out of the property last month to avoid the humiliation of eviction.
Her old house now boarded up, homeless Mrs Hoadley is living with friends in Maidstone.
This week she told the Kent Messenger that problems in Drawbridge Close were deep-rooted, and would not be solved by her eviction.
All it did, she said, was cap a tragic three years that began with the death of her husband in a car crash in 2007.
“It comes down to the fact that in three years I’ve lost everything,” said Mrs Hoadley.
“My house was raided for drugs last year; they found nothing.
“I was arrested again for ram-raiding a clothes shop in Headcorn and was on bail for 10 weeks.
“They dragged me out of my house with no shoes on. It wasn’t pleasant and people were shouting out saying they were bullies.”
Police confirmed she had been arrested in connection with the ram-raid and was released without charge.
Mrs Hoadley believes she has been unfairly targeted, while she says drug dealing in the area has not been investigated.
But the story from others in the street is different.
“At times it was pure hell,” said one unnamed resident, who thanked police. “The support we have received has been tremendous.”
Another neighbour supported Mrs Hoadley, saying: “Lots of people around here have never had a problem with Lesley.
"A lot of us are disgusted with the way she’s been treated.”
Kent Police say the evidence that led to an eviction order being granted by a judge was “overwhelming”.
In his Kent Messenger column this week, Ch Insp Robbie
Graham said the eviction was the result of months of police work.
He said: “Maidstone police, together with a range of partners, are absolutely committed to dealing with those issues that cause the most harm to our residents.”
Hyde housing officer Carole Chapman said: “The welfare of our residents is of paramount importance and we take anti-social behaviour very seriously.
“If our residents report incidents to us, we are here to support them.”