Sajid Javid called it one of Britain’s worst streets – and residents say he’s dead right.
Last week the Home Secretary said growing up on Bristol’s Stapleton Road could have turned him to crime.
So the Sunday People paid a visit to find out what the locals thought.
Seconds after arriving outside his childhood home a dealer offered us crack cocaine.
Druggies puffed crack and cannabis without a care in the world while I was harassed to buy every 100 yards.
One woman who sleeps on the street told us: “Is it rough here? Are you mad?”
A pub shut after police busted a drug smuggling gang. A paedophile ring was on the same road. And a murder.
Locals blasted Mr Javid for using his background as political currency as he angles for the top job – while doing nothing for those still there.
They say the only time they see the millionaire is stage managed interviews about his tough childhood.
In 2016, he arrived in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar to visit the two-bed flat above the clothes shop where he lived with his parents and four brothers.
Mr Javid went back last October and posed for pictures in a cafe where he used to play pinball.
Paul Westlick, 48, who has recently found a home after 14 years on the streets, said: “Javid, we are begging you to do something about the place you used to call home.
“My friends are on the street. We have been abandoned. No one is fighting for us.”
Another local said: “Sajid’s got a nerve talking about crime here.
“He’s in a position to do something about it but nothing changes. What hope have we got?”
Local police have lost 665 officers since 2010 because of cuts by Mr Javid’s Home Office predecessor Theresa May .
And Mr Javid’s Tories have cut £80million.
Shop worker Sam said: “It’s a dangerous area. There are loads of criminals. Every day police are here but there’s not enough of them.”
Another warned: “Don’t walk on your own here at night and stay away from the drug dealers.
“They pressurise young girls to cut coke and crack for them. Your home will be turned into a crack den.”
One drug gang on the street ran The Coach House pub, where a £1.5million cannabis and ecstasy smuggling operation was busted three years ago.
The licensee and two other men were jailed for a total of more than 50 years.
The ex-owner of another pub, the Black Swan, was sent down for hiding knives used to kill a man last year.
The pub’s barman Nathan Newell, 26, whose uncle now runs it, told us: “Is it the most dangerous street in Britain? I think it is.
"There’s stabbings, robberies, shootings, drugs, human trafficking. You name it.”
Meanwhile, a gang of Somali sex abusers was caged after a girl escaped from captivity on Stapleton Road.
Thirteen men were jailed for a total of 116 years in 2014.
The street is in the Lawrence Hill ward in Easton, among the most deprived two per cent in England. Half of all the children there live in poverty.
Parents struggle to raise kids amid burnt buildings, smashed windows, drunks and pavements strewn with syringes and used condoms.
Mother-of-five Mel Girland, 29, said: “It’s a scandal that Javid has left this area to rot while he’s using his upbringing as political capital.
“We have had no heating since December and we have a problem with rats. We’ve been forgotten about. At night I have carried a knife on the way back from my job in Poundland.”
Local shopkeepers believe council cuts are part of the problem.
Shopkeeper Abdul Ismail said: “The council aren’t looking after the area but it’s not their fault as they are stretched. It hasn’t been cleaned up for 25 years.”
When asked what the solution was, he said: “They need bobbies on the street and bin collections. Not more cuts.”
Crisis charity worker Steve Baker – who helps run a drop-in centre for the homeless – said: “This area is one of the most deprived in England. And there’s been massive cuts to the police and local government. That’s something the Home Secretary needs to address.
“We don’t just get the homeless, we get people who have finished their shift at Tesco or on lunch come in for a free meal in their uniform and they shouldn’t have to do that as they have a job.”
Latest figures show violent crime is up by four per cent in the area.
In February there were 158 crimes, including 45 violent or sexual.
But Avon and Somerset Police has to make £17 million in savings by 2021, said its independent Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.
She said: “We have reached the point where enough is enough and policing in Avon and Somerset cannot be stretched any further.”
Community leaders in Bristol said the area he grew up in had improved a lot in the last 20 years.
Mohammed Elsharif said: “Stapleton Road is the real Bristol. It is a vibrant area in the city made up of a mix of different nationalities, races and religions all living and working together.
“The real issues are about equal employment, education and opportunities for young people.
“A lot of work has been taking place in the community to tackle those issues and make sure our young people can contribute in a meaningful way.
“It’s insulting to still hear Stapleton Road being described as the most dangerous place when I just don’t think that’s the case any more.”
Mr Javid moved from Bristol in his late teens to study at university. He then worked in banking, becoming a vice president at Chase Manhattan Bank aged 25 before entering Parliament.
In a speech last week, Mr Javid, 47, said: “There were pupils at my school who shoplifted and they asked me if I wanted to help. There were drug addicts who stood near my school gates and told me that if I joined in, I too could make some easy money.
“But I was lucky. I had loving and supporting parents who gave me the security that I needed.
"I had some brilliant teachers who motivated me and took me much further than I think even they expected.”
The Home Office said last night: “The Home Secretary lived on Stapleton Road around 40 years ago. Although he remembers it as a challenging neighbourhood he recalls it fondly.
“He has made clear his personal commitment to tackling crime, wherever it occurs. The Government announced an increase of over £1billion in police funding this year.
“Avon and Somerset will receive more than £300million in 2019-2020 including council tax, an increase of £21.5million on 2018-2019.”
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