Drugs den gets last chance

POLICE are today on the verge of closing a drugs den that has blighted an Ipswich community.In only the second case of its kind in Suffolk, police applied for a closure order on the house in Bradley Street.

POLICE are today on the verge of closing a drugs den that has blighted an Ipswich community.

In only the second case of its kind in Suffolk, police applied for a closure order on the house in Bradley Street.

Tenant Julie Chandler stood before magistrates in Ipswich to hear the range of problems caused by people using her home.

However, the hearing was adjourned for two weeks to allow Chandler to seek legal advice, but Bench Chairman John Woolley said she lucky to have that opportunity.


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He told her: "We were in a mind to issue an immediate closure order, let us make no bones about that."

Police officers have attended her house on a number of occasions and found people with drugs on their possession, South East Suffolk magistrates heard.

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Darrin Tomkins, inspector for west Ipswich told magistrates: "Regularly, residents have brought to my attention that the house in Bradley Street is basically a drug dealing den and it is causing their lives a misery.

"Together with this, it has caused them a great deal of fear and they dare not raise their voice for fear of repercussions.

"When I am at public meetings they draw me to one side and speak in hushed tones about it."

He added that a number of drug warrants had been issued at the house over the last year and that one neighbour had been given death threats.

Officers took advantage of new powers and issued a closure notice on a property following complaints from neighbours.

This makes it illegal for anyone apart from the tenant or landlord to enter, under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act, and is designed to prevent homes being used as drug-dealing premises.

Officers can then apply to the courts for a more draconian closure order, which would prevent anyone from using the property and effectively make the tenant homeless.

The act also allows police to prosecute the case as a civil matter, enabling them to use hearsay and anonymous evidence from residents, rather than them testifying in court.

The house would be boarded up for three months, with the option of extending the eviction if the case to do so was strong enough.

The case has been adjourned until June 14.

What do you think about these new police powers? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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