Brazen daylight drug deal at Warrawong units

• Mum's hell living with junkies, hookers and crims

• Toxic units no place for child: experts weigh in

The ghost-like junkie, reed-thin with soulless eyes, stares right through me before silently disappearing into the darkness of a nearby stairwell.

It's a sunny afternoon in February and it takes me a few seconds to realise that I've just witnessed a drug deal as I exit the Todd Street units on the Warrawong public housing estate.

Having heard the three men in the stairwell and wanting to avoid an exchange, I had waited until they were at the bottom of the landing before making my own way out of the building.

But as I walk into the light there they are, not three metres away, brazenly divvying up their drugs, out in the open.

With a fresh face in the ghetto, the three men scatter. The hooded man bolts to the concrete dividing fence, built a few years ago to stop criminal elements from gaining easy access to other parts of the estate. After a few heavy attempts he manages to hurl himself over.

The older man sprints in the opposite direction and the ghost-man, with his pale, pasty skin and dark eyes looking like death, slips away sideways. He is young - perhaps not yet 20.

It's just another day on the housing estate and one of countless drug deals that will take place here. The hallways are filled with a steady stream of junkies. While some of the addicts reside within the estate, most have come here specifically to buy their drug of choice.

Which door they knock on will depend on which drugs they want and can afford on any given day.

"These are not homes, they are drug dens," confided one resident, who fearing for his safety asked not to be named.

On a return visit to the same block of units earlier this week I look out a window and see a junkie preparing a syringe in the front seat of his car, his front seat passenger assisting him.

The vehicle is parked in a secluded car park at the side of the building, near the same concrete wall the hooded man had hurled himself over seven weeks before.

I begin to video the two men on my phone, but am spooked as the passenger suddenly looks in my direction.

I tell the person I'm with to lock the front door. I'm scared the men, having seen me, will confront us and cause us harm. When it seems safe, I continue filming and capture the driver of the car using a syringe to shoot drugs into his arm. He then stashes something under or into the glove box and drives away. I'm surprised it was so quick.

Although they are long gone, I feel frightened as I walk to my car. I've seen the needles and the filth they leave behind, I've witnessed a drug deal, I've even interviewed some of the addicts, but seeing them shoot up in broad daylight somehow unnerves me.

I now understand why some of the residents, many trapped in a cycle of poverty, live their lives locked away in their tiny units, isolated and afraid. This is no place for a child.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop