A block of flats in Peterborough which was home to prostitution, class A drug taking drug dealing has been shut by a court.
Neighbours living next to the flats in Lincoln Road had their lives made a misery with criminal and anti-social behaviour, with needles and used condoms littering the floors, serious damage to the structure of the buildings and late night and early morning noise and violence.
Now the two neighbouring properties have been closed after Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire police were granted a premises closure order for the homes under the Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act.
It is the first time that the council has applied for and been granted the order, with the order granted at Peterborough Magistrates' Court this morning (Friday) by District Judge Ken Sheraton.
Joanna Carty, prosecuting, told the court while most of the residents in the homes were acting lawfully, a minority were causing problems.
She said: "There is a large amount of evidence showing the property was used for drug use, drug dealing, prostitution, violence and squatting over the past 18 months.
"In the past five months there have been 22 reports to police - a high level by any standard."
Miss Carty said police had seen people with weapons around the properties, and homeless people breaking in to take drugs.
She said: "There are numerous needles, spoons used for heroin and crack cocaine and other paraphernalia in gardens, hallways and stairwells.
"There are a large amount of condoms in the property, with the number showing it is used by prostitutes.
"A neighbour said she had reported constant fights, people screaming at all times of day and night. She said she was scared to leave her house."
The order prevents anyone but named officials from entering the property for the next three months and anybody in breach of the closure will face the prospect of a fine or jail sentence.
The owners are planning to use the three months to renovate and refurbish the properties, to give it a new lease of life.
A number of residents have been re-housed by Peterborough City Council.
Councillor Peter Hiller, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The fact that this is our first ever closure order demonstrates how severe a case this was.
“This is an excellent example of partnership working and demonstrates that we do not tolerate Anti-Social Behaviour and will not hesitate to take appropriate swift and effective action when it is brought to our attention.
“We are certain that this order will result in some much-needed peace and quiet for neighbouring properties in the street.”