‘Prolific’ drug den shut down

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A well-known drug den has been sealed off by the authorities after workmen found needles during maintenence work.

The three-month closure order – which applies to the property on Martian Avenue, Hemel Hempstead – means anyone in breach of it faces up to six months in prison, a fine or both.

The house has been visited by known drug users and prolific offenders for some time.

It is the third time Dacorum Borough Council has used the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act – which came into legislation in November last year – to apply for premises to be closed if the occupant’s behaviour is causing a serious nuisance and disorder, or if the premises are being used for criminal behaviour.

In this instance, there were reports of anti-social behaviour at the property which elderly and vulnerable neighbouring residents felt unable to report through fear of repercussions.

Councillor Neil Harden, portfolio holder for residents and corporate services, said: “Being able to close a property, which has caused so much distress to neighbouring residents, is a really effective tool for us in combatting serious anti-social behaviour.

“Our officers have worked extremely hard on this case gathering evidence over a significant length of time in order for us to bring some respite to the community.”

The council’s anti-social behaviour team use these powers as a last resort.

Help and support is always offered in the first instance and the team work closely with partnership agencies to try and resolve cases before taking legal action.

Partners include the police and Spectrum, whivh support individuals and families experiencing problems with drug abuse and addiction within the community.