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4th Jul, 2022

How police used new laws to board up home which had left residents 'terrified'

Malvern Editorial 21st Nov, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A SQUALID home which had become a hive for anti-social behaviour and alleged drug deals has been shut down by police.

About 6pm this evening (Friday) officers boarded up the property in Elgar Avenue after evicting the woman living there.

For the past two years the home has been a nightmare for neighbours with countless incidents of fighting, loud noise, teenagers coming and going, excessive drinking and suspected drug taking.

Police stated there had been regular parties and the premises often had more than 15 teenagers hanging around inside.

The home, which was littered with hundreds of used cigarette ends, empty alcohol cans and bottles as well as over-flowing rubbish bins, has now been closed for three months while the landlord Fortis Living decides what further action to take against the occupant.

A couple who live nearby in Elgar Avenue and did not want to be named, said the house had been a ‘living nightmare’ ever since they moved in. They claimed teenagers had invaded their garden, thrown dog mess over their fence and confronted them on several occasions.

The man said: “We have often feared for our safety. It has gone down hill extremely quickly in the last two years, a lot of people have felt very frightened.

“It’s been a power struggle between the teenagers and lots of different kids trying to be the top dog.

“We’ve all had enough of the constant coming and going, the full-blown rows, punch-ups, the loud noise and the language because they were off their faces or drunk or both. There have been drug deals on the doorstep, we’ve seen them.”

The woman added: “I have dreaded going out sometimes it’s been very intimidating. It’s just a dirty drug den, a squalor. I think it was a case of you sleep where you fall.

“We just feel massive relief now, like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders. Elgar Avenue is not as bad as people make out, it is just the minority who give it a bad name. In the whole of our block the only problem was that house.”

Police were able to close the home thanks to new legislation under Section 80 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which only came into force during the last two months.

About 5pm Thursday (November 20) officers issued a notice at the property forcing anyone who did not live there to leave and not return within 48 hours. Six teens were booted out as a result and the dispersal order also banished them from the whole of Elgar Avenue for the period.

Just over 24 hours later a solicitor on behalf of West Mercia Police obtained the closure order from Worcester Magistrates Court and within an hour officers were knocking on the door of the terraced house.

Less than twenty minutes later the female tenant, who remained calm throughout, was ushered out of the premises and was given a lift to her friend’s home by police.

PC Paul Lambon said: “Residents have been terrified and have had enough. In recent months this address has become a central point for anti-social behaviour and alleged drug activity.

“It has become a place for any disaffected teenagers and young people who have either fallen out with their parents or just simply wanted somewhere they can go with no rules or control.

“There’s been parties and it has been a case of ‘you can come and do what you like’. We have been playing hide and seek with these kids who found places to go until they were moved on and this was the last address we knew they were at.

“We hope that they have learnt their lesson and have gone home but time will tell. There are a lot of factors to make a place like this attractive, because the estate is made up of these quadrants.

“It needs to be somewhere they can walk in without knocking. It’s not a safe place for young people.”

It is the first time a Section 80 order has been used to close a home in Malvern for nuisance.

PC Lambon added: “It is a new power and we are still learning about it. It gives us the ability to deal with something short term which has been a problem for a while longer.

“The new act recognises there are times when more immediate action needs to be taken to protect the local community and reduce the risk of harm to them.

“It’s a double edged sword because yes we have gone ahead and closed the house but it’s also unfortunate we have had to make a lady temporarily homeless, which is why we have assisted in transporting her to a friend’s address.

“But we decided this was a good place to use this new power and with good reason.”

He praised residents for their bravery in coming forward with witness statements and said many had been reluctant to say anything in fear of revenge or reprisal from the teens.

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