BELEAGUERED small businesses in Springbourne say they're the 'forgotten district of Bournemouth', left to deal with growing drug-fuelled crime and antisocial behaviour with little support.

Independent traders told the Echo that incidents involving 'drunks' or 'drug addicts' are now part of everyday life in the Holdenhurst Road area.

They also say nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.

David Walters, of We Fix, Holdenhurst Road, had his door kicked in earlier in the summer.

This attempted burglary came months after a similar attack.

"I've been here seven years," he told the Daily Echo. "We used to get a few people from a halfway house down the road coming, sitting on the wall over the road and drinking.

"But now we get people walking up and down here and they're like zombies, they're on drugs.

"I guy a little while ago did a karate kick on my sign, and I was told by police afterwards he was homeless and 'off his head' on something."

One of David's neighbours, who declined to be named, said he'd had so many problems in recent months, that he'd had enough.

"I just want to get out of here now, I want to move on," he said.

Like many small businessmen who feel under siege, David recently invested in a roller shutter door.

"But even this took me six months to get planning permission for, and we couldn't get the one we wanted because apparently 'it didn't look nice'," he said.

"We rarely deal with the council - basically they don't care about this part of Holdenhurst Road.

"If you're the other side of the Asda roundabout, you don't count. We don't even have any Christmas lights here."

He also said the recent switch to LED lights has left parts of the area pitch black at night.

"If we phone the police up, they'll come out weeks is just a waste of time."

Meanwhile, Mandy Norris, owner of Springbourne's Cherries Cafe, is facing hefty costs after a burglary at her Curzon Road premises earlier this month.

Mandy said: "I hear about burglaries and vandalism on Holdenhurst Road and this area daily; my customers are always telling me that another shop has had its window's kicked in or its door smashed.

"Between my sister and I we have owned the cafe about ten years, and I've lived in this area for 15 years.

"We had one break-in when we first got the cafe ten years ago, and now we've had two in ten months.

Mandy says she has "no doubt" in her mind most of the crime is the work of drug addicts

"You don't break a window at 9pm at night in a residential area unless you are desperate," she added.

The burglary on the cafe, which was renamed in 2015 in honour of AFC Bournemouth's Premier League promotion,will cost around £1,000

"It will affect my insurance premium, the knock-on effect is quite big for me," Many explained.

"It is easy to say we need to see more police, but we all know that the resources are not there.

"I think tougher sentencing is needed, especially when a small business has been attacked.

"Just having one window broken can put somebody under.

"These criminals don't realise the implications their actions can have on small businesses.

"Big businesses, large supermarket chains, can easily cope - but if you are a really small business making, say £100 a day, the consequences can be huge."