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Arrests at derelict pub in Blue Bell Hill, Chatham

Six people have been arrested at a derelict pub which was being used by squatters.

Officers executed a warrant at a former public house in Blue Bell Hill village on Sunday.  

Officers entered the Upper Bell Inn at 7am and arrested six people at the property on suspicion of drugs offences. 

The warrant was obtained following reports of anti-social behavior at the property. 

A 44-year-old man from Chatham was arrested on suspicion of theft, possession of a controlled drug and allowing premises to be used to supply drugs. He was later released without charge.

A 33 year-old woman from Rochester, a 33 year-old man from Gillingham and an 18 year-old woman from Maidstone were all given cautions for possession of a controlled drug.

Marcia Wheeler, 41, of Bell Shaw, Maidstone, was charged with possession of a controlled Class B drug. She was bailed to appear before Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court on January 15. 

A 28-year-old man was given a penalty notice for possession of cannabis. 

Inspector Nick Sparkes from Kent Police said: ‘We had received reports suggesting that drug use was taking place at the derelict property, and that invariably causes other anti-social behaviour.

"Executing a warrant at the property was designed to disrupt this activity, and help us gain intelligence around the use of drugs across the district."

Earlier this year residents raised concerns about the pub being used by squatters, which led Chatham MP Tracey Crouch to renew her call for squatting in commercial properties to be made illegal.

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