Published: 15:43, 16 November 2018
| Updated: 16:55, 16 November 2018
A council house has been boarded up after it was turned into a drug dealing den by a London gang.
The action was taken after Canterbury City Council, East Kent Housing and Kent Police persuaded magistrates to impose a three-month closure order on 126 Pier Avenue in Herne Bay, following ongoing criminal activity at the property.
The order prevents anyone going into the house or they face being arrested.
East Kent Housing chief executive Deborah Upton says the the misery heaped onto other residents caused by criminal behaviour and people constantly visiting the property could not be allowed to go on.
"We needed to take action to give neighbours some respite," she said.
“While this is a last resort and we did all we could 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."
City council enforcement officers joined East Kent Housing and police to serve the order.
Sgt Colette Todd from the Kent Police Community Safety Unit says she hopes it reassures the community that drug use and the associated criminality and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
“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," she said.
“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 police on 101 or 999 if a crime is taking place or via kent.police.uk/services/report-a-crime/ or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
More by this authorMarijke Hall