DESPERATE traders have accused the authorities of ignoring their pleas for help over criminal activities at a yard where a major fire broke out.

In May, fire crews tackled flames at Darlington's Shutts Yard, which was packed with more than 100 fridges and other items.

Residents living nearby are still living in fear of the yard going up on smoke, as it remains dangerously full of appliances, with fires set there regularly.

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Shutts Yard has been the subject of a year-long investigation, with Darlington Borough Council having looked into anti-social behaviour there for months prior to the fire in May.

Tenants of the flats associated with the yard have been banned from having fires and served with community protection notices but problems still continue, with traders in the Bondgate area reporting a host of concerning activities to the authorities.

The landlord of the Slaters Arms, John Wilson, and BedSOS spokeswoman Eleanor Richmond have called police and contacted the council over issues at the yard including drug using and dealing, domestic violence, theft, fires, copper extraction and criminal damage.

They claim the authorities have not done enough to act and feel that no party is willing to take responsibility for tackling the problem.

A spokeswoman for Durham Constabulary said that the force were unaware of receiving calls about the yard and those using it – despite Mr Wilson saying he had contacted police six or seven times this year and had handed them CCTV.

Ms Richmond said she had reported several issues and that a police officer had visited her “each and every time”.

The pair have repeatedly contacted DBC but say there has been no improvement since May.

A spokeswoman for the council said they had been liaising with the police and had raised concerns with the landlord of the flats, adding: “We have already taken enforcement action, however, as the yard is private property and does not pose a health risk, our powers are limited.”

Mr Wilson says his trade has been significantly damaged and that his family had considered selling the pub as a result of problems linked to the yard.

He added: “I cannot understand the police saying there is no issue.

“The authorities are doing nothing to help us – the police will blame the council and the council will blame the police and it goes nowhere, someone has to take responsibility.

“They are letting them get away with murder, and it could actually be murder one day.”

Ms Richmond added: “I feel the police are not taking anything occurring there seriously enough and the council are the same.

“I have no faith in them whatsoever – all authorities are a failure in this instance.”