A series of properties in Congleton have been seized by police this week as part of a campaign against drug dealing in the area.
Cheshire Police, working with local housing association Plus Dane Housing, successfully obtained and actioned a closure order for a property on Spindle Street, along with a private address on Willow Street, having discovered that the properties were being used to supply class A drugs.
The closure orders were granted at South Cheshire Magistrates’ Court earlier today, Thursday 29 March, as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
They orders are the first of their kind to have been obtained in the Congleton area. They allow police the right to remove individuals from a property and close it down for a period of up to three months.
Andrea Howarth, Director for Housing at Plus Dane Housing, said: “These properties and their tenants have been known as a great source of distress to the local community. This is a great example of partnership working. Plus Dane have worked closely with Cheshire Police to gather enough intel to successfully apply for these closure orders.”
“We have a strict stance on anti-social behaviour and are fully prepared to take any action required to ensure that people living in our properties behave appropriately and do not use the properties to undertake any illegal activities. We’re delighted that these closure orders have now been actioned and that these properties will no longer attract criminality and anti-social behaviour to their local communities. We will now seek to formally repossess the Spindle Street property.”
Inspector Penny Jones said: "Today’s closure orders reinforce the commitment that the police and partner agencies have in targeting those people that undermine our communities and bring misery to residents through their involvement in illegal drugs and anti-social behavior.
“Congleton Beat Team will continue to focus their attention on people who are complacent with allowing their properties to be used for antisocial or criminal activity, and anyone who does so risks losing their home.
"We are committed to protecting the community from drug related crime and anti-social behaviour and today′s action is intended to send a very clear message that drug dealing in any form will not be tolerated."
"I’d like to thank local residents who have provided intelligence and information which has made today′s action possible. Quality of life for our community is of paramount importance; our action in this instance has demonstrated our commitment.”
Over the next three months regular checks of the premises will be conducted to ensure the closure order is not breached. If anyone is found to have breached the order they are liable to arrest and up to six months′ prison, or a £5,000 fine, or both.
Anyone who is concerned about anti-social behaviour and drug related crime in their local communities is urged to Cheshire Police on 101. Alternatively residents can report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.