ELDERLY Gourock residents were left fearing for their safety after their close door lay wide open for almost three weeks.

The main entrance of the Eastern View high-rise has been constantly ajar, meaning anyone could walk in at any time of the day or night.

The problem came about after contractors tried to fix a single faulty buzzer, only for the whole intercom system to end up out of action.

It meant the front door had to be left open to allow access in and out of the block of flats, which is the responsibility of housing association River Clyde Homes (RCH).

Victor Delussey, who chairs the Eastern View Tenants' and Residents' Organisation, said: "It was supposed to have been fixed on Saturday because the part was apparently here but it wasn't. "It is a concern for the older people, particularly at weekends.

"We had problems last year with boys coming in and smoking in the close.

"Residents have nice areas outside their doors, they don't want them ruined. "With the door lying open like that, people have also been using it as a thoroughfare to the other side instead of going around the building."

There are 87 flats in the block - a mix of rented and bought properties - with over 100 residents, the majority of whom are pensioners.

Hamish McLeod, secretary of the tenants' association, says the recent problems have been made worse because there has been no full-time caretaker on duty.

He said: "An old lady said she really got the feeling someone was in the close on Saturday.

"She was absolutely terrified.

"River Clyde Homes are duty-bound to provide safe and environmental surroundings for their elderly customers and this isn't safe.

"We realise you have to wait for a part but the main concern is they should be providing security.

"Previously, we had a night watchman, so if they did it then why not now?"

RCH today apologised to residents in the high-rise and say the problems should now be at an end.

Heather McIlroy, asset manager for the housing association, said: "What initially seemed like a straightforward repair to a customer's handset has unfortunately resulted in the full systems board having to be removed and sent to the manufacturer for repair.

"We apologise to Eastern View residents for the inconvenience this has caused but the main door has to remain open for tenants to gain access. "We would always, but particularly at present, encourage residents to ensure that the front door to their home is locked.

"Everything has been done to provide a full and additional service at Eastern View until the door is repaired and we have secured extra patrols of the building from the out-of-hours community warden service."

A full repair was due to be carried out yesterday.