Ashford 'crack-house' closed

Local residents joined forces with the police and council to put an end to months of misery.

Neighbours complained the constant stream of addicts visiting the top-floor flat flat in Musgrave Road was making their lives unbearable. The flat has now been sealed off.

Kent police and Ashford Borough Council’s Housing Service applied to shut the flat using a Crack House Closure Order, the first to be made in the town.  It follows numerous complaints about drug-dealing and anti-social behaviour over a number of months.

Anti-social behaviour Investigator PC Lisa Nightingale and neighbourhood officer PC Scott Stretton worked with local residents to gather evidence and heard how the behaviour of the resident of the flat was having a detrimental effect on the quality of their lives.

This included constant visitors to the house day and night, evidence of drug paraphernalia, and arguing.

Folkestone magistrates granted a three month Closure Order on Thursday 26 August 2010 under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.  The property was then sealed by council contractors.

PC Lisa Nightingale said:  “I’d like to thank local residents for their time and dedication in helping us to achieve this result. I have also worked very closely with the council on this closure and the result is a great example of successful partnership working.”

Chief Inspector John Frayne, Ashford’s District Commander said: “This is the first time this piece of legislation has been used in Ashford.

“We believe as a result, the residents will see an improvement in their quality of life.  I believe this sends a strong message to people who think they can damage people’s quality of life in our community. We will not hesitate to apply this legislation to other premises.” He added.

Cllr Neil Bell, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “Ashford Borough Council's housing service is pleased to have worked with Kent Police to effect this Closure Order and put an end to antisocial behaviour at this property.

“Property closures are only possible when public services such as the police and council work together and with the people living in neighbourhoods affected by antisocial behaviour.

“We hope the this Closure Order demonstrates that this is exactly the case here in Ashford , that we take anti-social behaviour very seriously, we do listen to people’s concerns and will use all the powers available to us to make our communities safer.”