AS the first bricks are dismantled from properties half-destroyed in the Valentine's Day blast in Gibbs Crescent, 'neglected' residents are still waiting for answers.

Nearly eight months ago, an explosion destroyed an entire block of flats in the road, killing 48-year-old Guido Schuette and making 11 other residents homeless.

But residents are still no closer in finding out what happened and say the tragedy has brought all their problems to a head.

Paul Hobbs said since the blast more unsavoury characters have turned up on their doorsteps, making residents terrified to open their doors.

The 57-year-old said: “No one feels safe.

“Drug dealers are always down here now, they even do it in broad daylight, they do not care.

“People coming home for the day will walk up the shared stairwell and find someone sleeping rough on their doorstep.

“And this has only got worse since the explosion, we have literally just been left, no explanation.”

Last month a meeting was held between residents and the housing association A2Dominion, which runs the flats, but they say they did not receive responses to their questions.

Jess Leaf, who has been a resident since 1984, said: "They just looked at us like we were nothing.

"They couldn't give us any information as to why this happened, whose responsibility it was.

"No one feels safe here, everyone is vulnerable and all we want is to have a safe place to live.

"All we want them to do is install CCTV, have proper lighting in the stairwells and insulation in the walls, we just want to have a safe place to live."

So far, the only information residents have on the blast is that it was caused by fuel stored in one of the flats.

During the meeting last month, neighbours say A2Dominion also failed to offer an apology to a long-suffering resident.

For 14 years Annie May, a neighbour of Mr Schuette, was subjected to daily racial abuse and their final exchange ended with him telling her: ‘I’m going to get you.’

She pleaded with the A2Dominion for her to be moved, fearing her safety and eventually took Mr Schuette to court in 2015.

The 53-year-old support worker said: “They could not even give me an apology, they just sat there in silence.

“I told them something bad was going to happen and begged to be moved but they never did anything.

“And now I have lost absolutely everything, I have had to start completely from scratch.

“They have given me £5,000 – how far is that really going to go? I’ve had to buy everything and do up the new place they have found for me.”

Work to dismantle the properties began on Tuesday, September 26 and is expected to be completed by late December.

Intensive neighbour officer at Gibbs Crescent for A2Dominion, Tina Proctor, said: “The security of our residents is our highest priority and we are working with local police and social services to maintain the safe community they live in.

“We are fully aware of the current concerns raised by some residents and very recently met with police at Gibbs Crescent to discuss the continued policing of the area.”

The housing association has also proposed to install CCTV and said lighting has been erected around the properties.