PEOPLE sleeping out on a street with drug addicts on one end and millionaires in skyscrapers and £500,000 flats on the other.
Whitechapel Road runs from the heart of the City of London to Tower Hamlets, linking the richest and poorest parts of the capital.
Rival dealer gangs harass addicts on the streets with crack, heroin and spice – a synthetic cannabinoid known as the “zombie drug”.
Crack user John told him so To express: “A lot of people from all over London come to Whitechapel, it’s one of the hotspots of the drug trade.”
“There are drug users, homeless people and sex workers. We’re on the outskirts of town.”
More millionaires live in Tower Hamlets than in any other London borough.
Luxury apartments with a view of the addicts can sell for over £1million.
However, the area also has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK, with 24,000 families on the social housing waiting list.
People in the richest parts of Tower Hamlets earn £38,700 more than those in the poorest – the biggest gap in the UK.
Homeless people along Whitechapel Road sleep in tents hoping for protection from violence and theft.
Former plasterer Matt said: “I’ve lived in London for 15 years but I injured my leg and couldn’t work.”
“I have renovated many of the largest houses here.
“I just want a home so I can find a job, buy back my tools, and be able to do things again.”
Running through much of the historic East End, Whitechapel Road has long been a place of contrasting fortunes.
Most of the women killed by Jack the Ripper lived nearby – and at the Blind Beggar pub down the road, Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell.
The warning shots Ronnie fired shortly after the murder can still be seen on the pub’s roof and walls.
A park west of the road near the Aldgate skyscrapers is named after Altab Ali, a young Bangladeshi man who was stabbed to death by racist thugs in 1978.
Tower Hamlets Council said: “As in other inner cities, drug use and homelessness are a growing problem in Tower Hamlets.”
“This stems from a complex set of local and national issues that have been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis.
“There is no easy solution, but we are doing everything we can to help.”
“Our budgets will only go so far as they have been cut significantly during austerity.”
“To address these issues, greater central government support is needed.”
The Met Police said: “Central East Police remain committed to taking proactive action against those causing harm in the Tower Hamlets community.”
“Drugs and violent crime are inextricably linked and the police force remains focused on fighting these crimes relentlessly and achieving justice for those affected.”