NEIGHBOURS of a neglected hotel have warned it is deteriorating into a 'dangerous' magnet for yobs.

Boarded-up windows at the former Upper Reaches hotel in Abingdon are a depressingly familiar view for nearby residents, who have become 'petrified' of antisocial youths loitering in its shadow.

Last month residents called police after a group of young trespassers hauled themselves up onto the hotel roof, raising concerns over security at the abandoned building.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation, said: "People are breaking in and doing inordinate damage. It's ongoing and it's getting much worse.

"People have reported [incidents] to the police several times, cars nearby have been broken into. It's getting a bit scary. People are absolutely petrified."

The woman said the Thames Street hotel, which shut in 2015 after struggling with finances, had become a 'gathering place' for youngsters and vandals.

She said: "The building is in an appalling state, it's getting more and more vandalised at night.

"My main concern is the danger the kids are in – they might harm themselves. It could become really nasty."

The resident called on Vale of White Horse District Council, which owns the building, to increase security measures.

She said: "The place is falling to complete rack and ruin. Surely the people who own the freehold have a duty of care to keep it safe.

"The council ought to be held responsible for securing this – it's now dangerous."

Last week there was a gas leak at the building that she said could have put 'vulnerable' neighbours at risk, predicting the building could even have 'blown up' if a member of the public had not detected the smell.

Gas provider SGN confirmed engineers were called out after gas escaped from a service pipe, and consequently cut off the supply.

Last October police community support officers released a newsletter reporting 'numerous calls of antisocial behaviour and criminal damage' at the Upper Reaches.

The hotel is managed by long-term leaseholders Contemporary Hotels Ltd, which told the Abingdon Herald in January that it planned to revitalise the building with a mixed-use scheme involving some hotel rooms and some residential homes.

Speaking on Monday, the company's director Ambar Paul added: "We are definitely putting a planning application in soon and it will be a scheme that's acceptable [to residents]. It's not going to be something silly, it will be fairly attractive.

"I'm hoping the council will be positive and agree to it so we can do something nice. If it falls to ruin, it will not be our fault. q

"I hate to have a site like that looking the way it does. I've got all my team together and we are waiting to confirm [plans] with the architects.

"We've done everything we can to provide security but the council is the landlord and should provide additional security – it isn't our obligation."

District council spokeswoman Emma East said: "We are aware of the alleged recent incident [trespassers on the roof] at the former Upper Reaches hotel and are working with our tenant to ensure it complies with its responsibilities under the lease in respect of site security."