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Ashford: Oak Tree Road property closed for two months after anti-social behaviour and drug use

A one-bedroom flat has been boarded up for two months following numerous complaints of anti-social behaviour and drug use.

It marks the first time Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has shut down a property under the Crime and Policing Act 2014, which makes entering the property in Oak Tree Road a punishable offence.

Medway Magistrates' Court heard numerous complaints had been made by neighbours about drug taking and dealing at the flat, together with anti-social behaviour and noise at unsociable hours.

The flat has been boarded up, with police signs explaining the court order and the legal consequences of entering
The flat has been boarded up, with police signs explaining the court order and the legal consequences of entering

Drug paraphernalia had been found in the area, including a crack pipe on the stairs.

The council’s neighbourhood team has been working closely with police to tackle the problems associated with the flat, which has now been cleared.

Sharon Williams, ABC's head of housing, said: “We welcome this court ruling and we hope the closure will reduce anti-social behaviour in the community and also reduce the supply and use of drugs across Ashford and surrounding areas.

'This flat has been the root of persistent problems...' - Sharon Williams, ABC

"This flat has been the root of persistent problems and nuisance to residents with people visiting the property at all hours, openly drug dealing and causing noise and intimidation.

"These types of issues can make people’s lives a misery and we hope the work undertaken to gather a case for this order will reassure the community that we do not tolerate it and we will respond with appropriate action."

With the court order being made last Wednesday, the building will remain vacated until Monday, November 26.

Although this is the first closure order to be secured by the authority, it follows another order issued by police in August for a flat in Park Place, in which the council’s housing team played a significant role.

Inspector Jason Atkinson said: "This court order means that no one can enter this property for two months without committing a criminal offence. We hope that residents will see an improvement in their quality of life.

"We work regularly with Ashford Borough Council to support the people of Ashford and this action was part of an ongoing initiative known as Operation Raptor, which is designed to tackle, disrupt and prevent violent crime and the supply of class A drugs."

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