SHOCKED residents are questioning why the police did not have a grip of the drug problem before the bloody gang murder.

A ruthless Somali gang has been operating in the area under police observation for months and traders and residents have seen strange activity at the flats.

One trader said: “The problem is that the police knew about it for months on end.

“They were asking people if they could survey the premises. They knew all about the drug gangs here with the black guys.

“They have got a new camera there – wasn’t that supposed to know what was going on?”

One resident said: “It’s definitely not safe down there – we call it murder lane.

“You feel frightened, especially at night time. There should be more police around the area.”

One Boscombe woman said: “I pass it going home at night and see Staffordshire bull terriers wandering about, actual drug deals – it’s blatant, there’s no attempt to hide it.

“I would flood the area with lights.

“If I were the police, I know I could go down at any point after 1am and arrest about five people.”

Helene Bowman-Brown, chair of The Friends of Roumelia Lane, has spoken out at group meetings about the recent drop in beat officers in the area after their good work during its regeneration.

She told the Echo yesterday: “We need the council and the police working together again.”

This is the latest of several murders and serious crimes in the area immediately around Sea Road and Roumelia Lane but the brutal gang killing has shocked people.

Sandra Tuvey, 47, a resident of Roumelia Lane, pictured said: “I’ve told my landlord I want out of here. There’s too many murders. It doesn’t surprise me but it’s more worrying because it’s a gang.”

Boscombe resident Mikey Cor-reia, 17, said: “We have a young child on the way and I wouldn’t want him raised around Boscombe, especially when there’s all this gang stuff happening.”

Dan Franklin, 29, a Boscombe resident, said: “My and my girlfriend have just had a baby and we want to leave because of everything that goes on.”

Monika Leigers, 33, from Garbo beauty salon on Sea Road, said: “To be honest, with this block of flats, it doesn’t surprise me. The council should have cleared up that place of the DSS people.”

Ivor Pond, 81, a hairdresser of Hawkwood Road, said: “It’s fine during the day. I had more problems when my salon was in the town. What more can the police do?”

Benjamin Robinson, 36, of Moontree on Sea Road, said: “The police have been absolutely brilliant since it happened. We are trying to see the light in everything but this violence is just depressing.”

Dipak Patel, 42, a newsagent on Sea Road, said: “The council hasn’t done anything about all the druggies over there. Over the past two years it’s got a lot worse.