Life working on Sheffield’s ‘Wild West’ street with threats and abuse
Workers on one of Sheffield's busiest streets are in constant fear for their safety, facing abuse, threats and witnessing crimes in the 'wild west' city centre. South Yorkshire Live spoke to people working on West Street, who revealed the threats they have faced, and the lengths businesses must go to in order to try to keep customers and staff safe. Thomas Cadman, who works at Hungry Homer Street Food LTD, said: "Sheffield town centre is like the Wild West.
For more Sheffield news, click here When I first started working around here 20 years ago it was safe, now I don't come into the town. The only time I come is when I'm here with my work colleagues."
Thomas said he has witnessed all manner of crimes while on shift, including once being threatened to be shot while manning the food stand on West Street.Police in West Street, Sheffield, in September, following a stabbing (Image: Vitalii Yalahuzian)
He also reported seeing distressing incidents when working in nearby streets. Thomas said: "The worst thing I've seen was a kid getting his ear bit off near Barker's Pool. "I've even seen a woman being chased up steps, and a guy then lifted her up by the crotch and threw her down the steps."
Knowing what goes on in the area is frightening for Thomas' boss, who also works on the stand and has faced abuse himself. He said: "I've been called a white c**t, I've had 2 pence pieces thrown, eggs, NOS canisters. It happens all the time.
"I'm constantly worried for my staff." He then pointed out the 10ml Perspex screen on the front of the truck, designed to protect staff from objects being thrown at them and wide enough to shield three people.
Enter your postcode to see crimes reported in your area
The pair explained there are also other safety precautions in place. They said they do not leave the truck unless necessary and they have built friendships with doormen on the street, with each of the businesses protecting the others.
"We look out for each other," said Thomas. Kyle Bills, a Supervisor at the Wick at Both Ends also said the doormen working along West Street are vital. He explained: "Without having them there, it does not feel safe.
"West Street does not feel safe at the moment. A whole lot of Sheffield does not feel safe at the moment because you've got spikings that have occurred and the stabbings." The worker said his staff have to be cautious when closing up and travelling home late at night because of the crowds West Street can attract.West Street in Sheffield (Image: Google)
"After a certain time, you don't want to be lingering around.
West Street can get a bit of a rabble later on," he said. But the team have procedures in place to help them get home safely, according to Kyle. He says nobody leaves until their taxi has arrived and staff do not wait around on the street.
Employees at Molly Malones use similar tactics, according to assistant manager, Alex Highton. Alex said his staff will either get a lift home or they get money back on their taxis. Molly Malones also has its own doormen working every day, which Alex says helps reassure everyone.
"We try our best.
We understand the environment can be unfriendly," he added.
To get the latest email updates from South Yorkshire Live, click here.