A council house has been boarded up after it was turned into a drug dealing den by a London gang.
Canterbury City Council, East Kent Housing, which manages the council’s housing, and Kent Police worked together to persuade magistrates in Margate to impose three-month closure order on 126 Pier Avenue, Herne Bay, on 8 November.
City council lawyers applied for the order which prevents anyone going into the property. If they do, it is a criminal offence and they will be arrested.
East Kent Housing Chief Executive Deborah Upton said: “The misery heaped on to other residents caused by criminal behaviour and people constantly visiting this property could not be allowed to go on and we needed to take action to give neighbours some respite.
“While this is a last resort and we did all we can to persuade our tenant to engage with support services, allowing a council home to be exploited by drugs dealers ultimately meant they lost it.
“If council tenants feel they are falling victim to so-called cuckooing, where they feel others are trying to take over their home and they are unable to control this, they need to contact us or the police and we will do all we can to help them.
“We have worked closely with Kent Police and the city council throughout this process and, between us we will not hesitate to follow a similar course of action again if it is needed.”
City council enforcement officers joined East Kent Housing officers and Kent Police to serve the order.
Sgt Colette Todd from the Kent Police Community Safety Unit said: “Drug use and the associated criminality and anti-social behaviour it causes can have a significant impact on residents.
“We hope the work undertaken to put together a case for this order will reassure the community we do not tolerate it and we will respond with appropriate action.
“We work closely with our partner agencies and will continue to actively pursue orders on other properties if they are associated with ongoing incidents of this nature.
“Members of the public should look out for signs of a cuckooed property near to where they live – this could be an increase in anti-social behaviour or visitors at unusual times of the day.
“Anything suspicious should be reported to the police on 101, or 999 if a crime is taking place, or via the online reporting facility kent.police.uk/services/report-a-crime/
“Alternatively call Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
“This information can be invaluable for officers targeting offenders as well as applying for closure orders.”