Sarah Chelsom and Alison Magnum (centre) with other South Norwood residents outside the former police station
A disabled South Norwood woman is campaigning to get more police on the beat in the area after being attacked by a passer-by just off the High Street last Monday.
Sarah Chelsom feels like she “needs to do something” as she now feels “scared to go down the high street”.
The attack by another woman on Ms Chelsom took place when she was on her mobility scooter and had just crossed Selhurst Road at the junction with the High Street, Station Road and Oliver Grove at 10.30am on Monday, June 26.
Ms Chelsom, of Holmesdale Road, who is known around South Norwood for her elaborately decorated pink mobility scooter, said: “Since then I felt so frightened and shaken up that I couldn’t sleep and that’s when I knew I needed to do something, South Norwood has gone downhill and even more so since the police station closed.
“In the area we have had drug raids, stabbings and gang crime. We never see bobbies on the beat in the area like we used to. I have lived here for 30 years and since the police station shut down its got worse, I feel like I don’t know what sort of crazy person is walking the streets anymore. It happened right near where the police station was, I would never have thought that would happen.”
In the attack, a woman punched the mum-of-two in the back of the head.
Ideally Ms Chelsom, who “pimped up” her scooter with diamantes and rhinestones simply to make her neighbours’ smile, would like to see the police station, which shut in 2013, reopen but she would at least like to see more police patrols in the area.
After the attack, Alison Magnum went to help Ms Chelsom, who she now describes as her “hero”.
Describing the attack, Ms Chelsom added: “I heard her [her attacker] shout at me from afar so I sped up to cross the road but she was getting closer then I felt a whack round the head, it was more than a slap, it was a real punch and was so hard I could feel the right side of my face swell up.
“I shouted for someone to call the police but the woman just looked at me and muffled ‘go on then’ before walking off. That’s when Alison turned up, called the police and looked after me like a real hero.
“I know postmen who are scared on their rounds after being attacked in the area and everyone moans but no one is doing anything about it. I felt like I needed to make a stand as others won’t. It’s about making sure we are not living in fear. Since what happened I have felt scared going to the high street, and I need to go there to get life essentials.”
Sarah Chelsom and Alison Magnum (centre) with other concerned South Norwood residents outside the former police station
Mrs Magnum, 51, of Sangley Road, said: “Sarah has taken me out to lunch and keeps calling me her hero, which is really nice. It seems to be that more people are going around just doing what they want and there isn’t any security or protection from police for us.
“I have health problems and we do feel vulnerable because of these sorts of people going around. By the time police got here it had taken 30 minutes. When we’ve asked officers where the nearest station is after Croydon they say Biggin Hill and that’s not near at all.”
It is understood a suspect was arrested in connection with the attack.
A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman was able to confirm that the incident took place but has not yet been able to provide any details on the arrest or a comment on the call for more police patrols in the area.