Police close Ipswich drug den
VIDEO Police in Ipswich have continued their war on drugs by closing down another crack house in the town bringing the total for the year to six.The latest closure took place on Wednesday when police boarded up a flat in the heart of the town's red light district and ordered the occupant to leave.
POLICE in Ipswich have continued their war on drugs by closing down another crack house in the town bringing the total for the year to six.
The latest closure took place on Wednesday when police boarded up a flat in the heart of the town's red light district and ordered the occupant to leave.
The closure is the sixth this year under powers given to police to help combat drug use and anti-social behaviour in troubled areas.
The flat, in Burlington Road, was boarded up and the occupant, Brian McNeil, was warned he will be arrested if he returns within three months.
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Police say other residents of the flats had complained about loud noises from guests, and drug paraphernalia left strewn around the building.
Syringes and other evidence of hard drug use were found in the grounds of a nursing home next door to the block, within throwing distance a window of Mr McNeil's flat.
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Pc Ali Livingstone, who lead the operation, said: “We had numerous complaints that people were committing all kinds of anti-social behaviour at the premises - loud arguments in the night time, attempted break-ins at other properties and leaving drug paraphernalia discarded nearby.
“We have been very successful in obtaining crack house closure orders - it is a powerful piece of legislation which has a positive impact on areas which are worst affected by this kind of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.”
Under the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act, police can apply for a warrant to close a property and prevent anyone entering for three months, if there is evidence it is being used for Class A drug abuse and there is also evidence of disorder or causing a serious nuisance.
Pc Livingstone said: “If people are concerned in any way about anti-social behaviour which they believe is drug related they should contact us.”
Speaking to The Star after his eviction Mr McNeil denied he or guests at his flat had caused a serious nuisance and said he would be appealing the decision.
He said he has nowhere to go and the action taken by police, Ipswich Borough Council and Orwell Housing has made him homeless.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, described Mr McNeil as a kind man who helped her out and kept an eye on her.
She added that on the one occasion she could recall a disturbance, he had visited her to apologise the next day.
Other neighbours in the block declined to comment.
According to Ian Seeley, a solicitor at Ipswich Borough Council who works with police to implement the crack house closure laws, the powers have been used around 13 times since they were introduced.
Factfile - crack house closures:
n. Closing a premises involves first issuing a notice informing people that no one except the occupier can enter.
n. Police then have 48 hours to apply to courts for a closure notice.
n. If this is granted the occupier will be forced to leave and the premises secured so it cannot be re-entered.
n. Anyone who tries to get back in is committing a criminal offence under the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act.
n. It is though Ipswich police have used these powers six times in the last 12 months, to close crack houses at Wherstead Road, Perkins Way, Downside Close, Orwell Heights, Newnham Court and Burlington Road.