Council shuts flat involved in the supply of class-A drugs

Published Monday, 6th August 2018

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Council officers have shut down a Southend property being used in the supply of drugs by a gang.

Officers from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, South Essex Homes and Essex Police attended the sheltered housing unit at Snakes Lane on 2 August to serve a court order which prevents anti-social behaviour and drug dealing taking place at the property. 

It comes after evidence of drug dealers - who are not the occupiers of the address - using the property for the supply of class-A drugs.

The order prohibits anyone other than the tenant, anyone working on behalf of South Essex Homes, police and the tenant’s carers from entering. Anyone else seen entering the property can be arrested and faces up to 51 weeks in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Some residents of the accommodation reported feeling “terrified” by the flat’s frequent visitors and disturbances and kept their windows shut through the hot weather as unknown males were peering through them “at all times of day and night.”

Cllr Mark Flewitt, cabinet member for public protection, said: “This court order safeguards the legal occupier from ongoing exploitation and criminal activity and protects the local community, which has been blighted by its use for dealing hard drugs.

“I must commend the council officers, South Essex Homes and police for working closely together to take such swift and decisive action.

“It shows we will not hesitate to use all legal means to stamp out the menace of drugs in our town.”

An Essex Police spokesperson said: “Our Operation Raptor teams work around the clock to target those people who think they can deal drugs in our county.

“We will do whatever it takes to put these individuals out of business and behind bars using all the tools open to us, including measures such as partial closure orders as was the case in this instance.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners and the community to ensure we tackle those causing harm in our communities.”

Essex Police set up Operation Raptor teams in the North, South and West of the county to tackle those involved in drug and gang-related crime.

If you have information about drug or gang-related crime in your community call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Background

The partial closure order was obtained under part 4 chapter 3 of the ASB Crime and Policing Act 2014, states: (1) A police officer of at least the rank of inspector, or the local authority, may issue a closure notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds —

(a) that the use of particular premises has resulted, or (if the notice is not issued) is likely soon to result, in nuisance to members of the public, or

(b)that there has been, or (if the notice is not issued) is likely soon to be, disorder near those premises associated with the use of those premises, and that the notice is necessary to prevent the nuisance or disorder from continuing, recurring or occurring.