Court order to tackle drug issues at Ashford flat
A flat in Ashford associated with drug use and anti-social behaviour has been issued with a two-month closure order.
The order, for a one bedroomed property in Park Place, was made at a Folkestone Magistrates’ Court hearing on Wednesday 22 August following a joint application by Kent Police and Ashford Borough Council.
The ruling runs until Sunday 21 October 2018 and makes it an offence for anyone to enter the premises during this time. The flat has been vacated and boarded up and police signs have been placed on the doors and windows.
The court heard that numerous complaints had been made by residents in the area of visitors to the flat at unsociable hours, many of whom were intoxicated or under the influence of illegal substances. There were also instances of criminal damage to the flat and communal entrance and fights in the street.
One elderly resident had to be moved from the block for health reasons and other residents and their children reported being unable to sleep because of the level of noise and anti-social behaviour.
Kent Police has carried out two warrants at the address under the Misuse of Drugs Act this year. During the first warrant, on 19 January, class A drugs and a knife was seized.
During the second warrant, on 7 February, officers seized class A and class B drugs. Two days later the occupant was served with a Community Protection Notice warning him over his continued anti-social behaviour.
Officers working within Kent Police’s Operation Raptor team hope the closure will reduce anti-social behaviour in the community and also reduce the supply and use of drugs across Ashford and surrounding areas.
Sergeant Simon Clarke said the occupant had continued to allow the flat to be used for the distribution and use of class A drugs despite a number of warnings.
He said: ‘This flat has been the root of persistent problems and a nuisance to residents with people visiting the property at all hours, openly drug dealing and causing noise and intimidation.
‘These types of issues can make people’s lives a misery and we hope the work undertaken to gather a case for this order will reassure the community that we do not tolerate it and we will respond with appropriate action.
‘We are grateful for the support shown by residents and Ashford Borough Council and we will continue to actively pursue orders on other properties if they are associated with ongoing incidents of anti-social behaviour or drug activity.’
Cllr Gerald White, Ashford Borough Council portfolio holder for housing, said: ‘The Council welcomes this court ruling. We have a zero tolerance policy towards drug use and other criminal and anti-social behaviour associated with our properties. This ruling sends out a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.’
Sergeant Clarke added: ‘This court order means that no one can enter this property for two months without committing a criminal offence. We hope that residents will see an improvement in their quality of life.’
Operation Raptor is a countywide strategy designed to tackle the sale of class A drugs and associated criminality.