A STALYBRIDGE woman says she is being forced out of her home town because of youths vandalising the narrowboat she lives on.
Tracey Dodd moored in Armentieres Square so she could set up a stall at the Christmas lights switch-on.
But after several incidents in little over a week she will head out of town and wonders if she will ever be back.
That is after a bill of potentially hundreds of pounds after an engineer looked at her vessel for engine damage because it was revved so much by hoodlums.
“I won’t be mooring in Stalybridge again, that’s for sure,” said 53-year-old Tracey, who lives on Time Out 10 with her dog and is a ‘roving trader’.
“I’m originally from Stalybridge, was brought up in Stalybridge, my family lives here, my great-granddad’s name is on the war memorial here.
“I worked at Tesco for 15 years before I decided to move on.
“I was very happy about being asked to come to the lights switch-on but it’s been one thing after another.
“Before moving to Armentieres Square, I was moored up at Phoenix City. It’s sad but I’ve got to move on and won’t be back – youths run the town centre.”
Tracey, who makes things from wood and sells them at stalls, was approached by Stalybridge Town Team to take part at the Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday, November 17.
She decided to live on a narrowboat just over two years ago.
However, youths spotted the boat on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and decided to use it as a target for their poor behaviour.
Tracey added: “First I came back and there was smoke coming from the boat – on the Saturday, someone had jumped on the boat and revved the engine.
“They ran off and I didn’t contact the police as I thought it was a one-off but they did the same thing again on the Tuesday, then on the Thursday they tried it but I was on board and ran out and confronted them.
“They gave me a lot of abuse, then they did it again on the Friday.
“I’m not to sure if they’ve damaged the engine but they’re going to if they keep doing it.
“I then put out a board which meant they couldn’t jump on. Then on the Saturday, I was invited somewhere but said, ‘I bet they do something else.’
“So I came back at 9.25pm and the boat was in the middle of the canal. They had untied one of the ropes so the back end was sticking out.
“I had to wait in Armentieres Square in the dark for the police to call back – luckily I’ve got friends in Stalybridge that helped me pull the boat back in.
“On the Sunday night, I sat in the dark waiting for something to happen, then on the Monday they came along and banged all the way along the boat.
“It’s very intimidating. I couldn’t sleep and I’m so angry and upset.
“It’s the same kids that are responsible and there are a number of lights in Armentieres Square that are out, which doesn’t help and police looked at CCTV but a tree was in the way.”
Because of the problems, Tracey has now had to call in an engineer to determine exactly what damage has been done to her boat.
But even if it is good news, it will be no thanks to the youths who made her stay in Stalybridge town centre a misery.
She said: “It’s a bit of a waiting game really. I’ve got to find out if the gearbox has been damaged by all the times it has been revved to the extreme by the youths.
“If it has, that’s a bill of £500 or £600. I’ve never had any problems anywhere else, just in Stalybridge.
“I moored in Armentieres Square for two weeks before and had no bother, that’s what upsets me more than anything.
“I’ve got to move on and I don’t want to. I came back home, where my two sons live, but I’ve got to move because of thugs who think they can do anything and get away with it.”