Closure order extended following drugs and anti-social behaviour

A closure order on a flat in Plymouth has been extended for a further three months to prevent further drugs and anti-social behaviour.

Plymouth City Council applied to District Judge Baker, sitting at Plymouth Magistrates on Tuesday 7 February to extend the closure order on 3E Teats Hill. The original closure order was granted in November 2016.

The application was heard in the tenant Stephen Edsel Ford’s absence, who refused to come to court and is currently on remand pending a sentencing hearing on a burglary charge to which he has pleaded guilty.

It was clear on the evidence from the original closure order hearing in November 2016 that there had been drug usage and dealing at the property and the order had been properly made out. The anti-social behaviour of the occupant, and those who had visited the property had seriously affected the quality of life of those living in the area and there was a specific impact on children in the flats who had witnessed the behaviour.

New evidence was provided by the police and housing provider that showed how much better life had become since the removal of Mr Ford from the flat.

Consequently, to ensure that there was no recurrence of the previously recorded anti-social behaviour, the judge granted a three month extension to the existing order during which time the landlord would be seeking possession of the property. Ford had avoided the housing officer causing the possession procedure to be drawn out longer than would have been expected.

District Judge Baker particularly thanked a local resident who had provided witness testimony initially. He said: “The resident’s willingness to testify spoke volumes and had a clear impact on the original closure application.”

Councillor Dave Downie, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities for Plymouth City Council, said: “It is great news for the local community that this closure order has been extended. It sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour in Plymouth, and that people’s concerns will be dealt with. We would like to thank the residents and Plymouth Community Homes and Devon and Cornwall Police for their continued support on this.”