TERRIFIED children are becoming prisoners in their own homes on a crime-hit estate.
Residents of the Stanney in Ellesmere Port say they are keeping children safe indoors rather than risk them being attacked by yobs.
The situation was revealed when the residents handed a 41-name petition to the borough council, calling for urgent action to tackle street yobs.
The problem centres on land between Dundee and Doune Courts.
A spokesman for the residents says: 'Youths are using this area as a sports field, ignoring the 'No Ball Games' sign on a lamp-post.
'We think this is a meeting place for drug-taking and drinking sessions.
'We have also experienced general harassment, violence and criminal damage towards ourselves, our property, and council property.
He added: 'It is therefore requested that the council looks into re-designing this area so it is no longer an attraction for these youths and, in turn, leave us to sleep easy at night.'
The yobs gather on the site each spring, summer and autumn, when the grass can be used for football.
Paul Cooban, the borough principal housing officer, said: 'Harmless as this might seem, the youths have no regard for the residents or their property while they play.
He said the brickwork of the ramped walkway near the courts had been extensively repaired in the last few months after being vandalised by yobs.
Mr Cooban added: 'The petitioners claim the situation has changed markedly over the last two years.'
He suggested that, if all the residents consented, then the council would stop mowing this patch of grass, making it impossible to play football on.
The council is now arranging a site visit with the police, residents and the borough's anti-social behaviour coordinator, Michelle Brown, to see if they can take it forward.
But the council is also aware that youth nuisance is a wide-reaching problem that cannot just be pushed out of one area into another, but needs a large-scale solution.