On Thursday 18 May, Thanet District Council successfully obtained a Premises Closure Order on a problem property in Margate that had become known for anti-social behaviour. The Order gives police powers of arrest if anyone, other than the tenant, is present at the property.
The swift action was supported by Kent Police and Riverside Housing Association. It comes as a number of agencies continue to work together as part of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership (TCSP). The TCSP proactively targets addresses that are involved in criminality, drug supply and where the address has been “cuckooed”.
In recent weeks there had been an increase in reports of nuisance and disorder coming from the property on Addington Street, Margate. There had also been an increase in the number of visitors to the property. A number of warnings were issued but were ignored.
The application to Folkestone Magistrate’s Court resulted in a order that closes the premises for the next three months. This means that only the current tenant has permission to access the address.
This measure was taken in response to regular and persistent anti-social behaviour taking place at the address by people believed to be ‘cuckooing’ the property. Cuckooing is a term used to define behaviour similar to that of the bird, whereby someone takes over another person’s property without their consent, often using it as a base for drug dealing.
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety at Thanet District Council commented:
“We want to send a strong message. It isn’t acceptable to come into a community, exploit vulnerable people, take over their properties and use them to conduct criminal activity. Thanet District Council does not and will not tolerate anti-social behaviour that disrupts the community and we will always work with our partners to take necessary action.”
Michael Anderson, Riverside’s Regional Services Manager for Thanet said:
“Riverside is committed to tackling the blight of anti-social behaviour and protecting the communities we serve. We would like to express our thanks to Thanet’s Community Safety Partners for all their work in achieving this successful outcome.
“This demonstrates that Riverside has a zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour, and we will continue to work with the police and our partners in Thanet to keep our communities safe”
Inspector Lara Connor from Thanet Community Safety Unit said:
“Our officers had visited the property several times since April, and arrested people seen at that address for possession of Class A drugs. Following concerns by residents about ongoing drug dealing at the address, we worked closely with Thanet Council and partner agencies to ensure all evidence of illegal activity linked to the property and subsequent police work was documented in order to support the closure notice.
“We continue to investigate properties linked to drug dealing and we ask that the community continues to be our eyes and ears on the street. Report any suspicious behaviour, whether it’s lots of visitors to a particular address, or signs of drug taking. All information helps us to build up a picture of what and where the issues are and enables us to continue taking positive action to disrupt and deter drug dealers in Thanet.”
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). This information can be invaluable for officers targeting offenders, as well as applying for closure orders.