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Council wins court order to close flat

A suspected drugs den has been boarded up after a court was told that tenants living nearby felt so unsafe that they had asked to move.

Neighbours' physical and mental health had been affected by living near a council flat at Warders Court, Chilworth Grove, Gosport, the court was told.

They had suffered constant noise, day and night, and visits to the block at all hours by suspected drug users or dealers.

Neighbours had been threatened and feared reprisals if they gave formal statements to police or the council.

The description of life for residents was given by Gosport Borough Council, in an application to Portsmouth Magistrates Court for a closure order, supported by Hampshire Constabulary.

The order was granted, meaning the flat has been sealed for three months and that anyone who enters is liable to a fine or prison or both.

The council told the court the application was needed to safeguard residents from increasing anti-social behaviour, drug-related offences, crime and disorder.

The court was told that police had been called to the address on multiple occasions and had found drug paraphernalia, a burner phone, and a large kitchen knife on a bedside cabinet.

A council spokesperson said: "We took this action on behalf of other residents of the block and neighbouring area, who have endured so much disruption and stress from noise and drug-related activity. We're glad the court agreed with us that the closure order was necessary. We're in the process of applying to the civil courts to permanently evict the tenant."

Sgt Alison Zachs, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Drugs supply makes lives of local residents an absolute misery.

"Not only does it bring people from outside of the area to commit crime, but it also attracts other types of crime to the community, as well as anti-social behaviour which has a negative impact on people living nearby.

"Officers conducted a warrant at this address back in March, and in the wake of this we have been working closely with our Gosport Borough Council partners to take further action.

"I am pleased that this closure order has now been granted. I hope this not only reassures people in Gosport about how seriously we take the supply of drugs in our neighbourhoods, but also provides some understanding of what additional avenues we can explore, as a partnership, to obstruct suppliers and make it difficult for them to operate.

"Please continue to report information about drugs supply to police by calling 101, so we can develop a picture of what is happening, who is involved, and where.

"Sometimes you may not see an immediate police response, but that's because we need to build an evidential picture of the issues and the areas that need targeting. Every single piece of information you supply to us will be assessed and where possible, we will work closely with our partners to action it."

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