Drug flat shut down using first mandatory possession order

Published Thursday, 30th January 2020

Blue lights on top of police vehicle

A tenant has been evicted using mandatory grounds for possession for the first time to close down a flat that was being used for County Lines activity.

The tenant had been linked to County Line drug activity for quite some time but refused to accept repeated offers of help from South Essex Homes and Essex Police to address the drug dealing happening within his home in Quantock flats, Chichester Road, Southend.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, working with South Essex Homes and Essex Police, successfully secured a closure order resulting in the premises being sealed for a period of three months while proceedings for possession started. 

The tenant returned to the property after the three months, so under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, mandatory possession via absolute grounds for possession was granted and the tenant evicted on Wednesday 22 January 2020.

Sarah Lander, Assistant Director of Operations for South Essex Homes, said: “This is the first case in which we have used the mandatory grounds for possession and it involved a lot of hard work and persistence from our officers and colleagues at the Council and Essex Police. 

“I think it clearly demonstrates that we can, and will, take decisive action to tackle anti-social behaviour and I am sure that the successful eviction of this tenant will lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for the residents of Quantock”.

“County lines” refers to how criminal gangs transport drugs and money around the country from large cities in to smaller towns.

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer contact, said: “It is excellent that we have been able to use the powers we have to tackle this tenant and the County Lines activity being undertaken. We have worked closely with partner organisations to protect the local community from the associated serious crime, violence and exploitation that drug use and drug dealing can have.”

T/Chief Inspector Ian Hughes, Southend District Commander for Essex Police, said:  “It is important that a partnership approach is adopted to address County Lines activity - working together, sharing information and making full use of each organisation’s powers is an integral part of maximising our impact.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this societal challenge, and this is a good example of non-policing powers being used to great effect, ensuring vulnerable individuals are protected. Thank you to South Essex Homes and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for your ongoing support.”

If you want to know more about the work taking place to tackle County Lines activity, including how to report anything suspicious, please visit See the Signs website.