Posted on 20th March 2015
Police in Derby are the first in the county to use new powers to close a crack house.
CID officers have been working closely with local authorities and residents over the past few months to close down a crack house that was being run from a flat at Harriet Tubman House on Ashe Place.
A number of complaints were received about the flat from residents in the area. Reports of anti-social behaviour, drug dealing, drug use and noise nuisance were made which left the residents living in fear.
Local businesses were also affected by litter and needles being discarded by their premises. Cars playing loud music and drug users causing intimidation were also an issue.
The police gathered evidence and carried out two drug warrants at the flat in recent weeks and on both occasions seized suspected Class A drugs.
Under new anti-social behaviour (ASB) legislation which was introduced in October 2014 police were able to enforce the closure power which allows police or the local council to close premises where ASB is being committed.
DC Laura Kershaw from Derby Proactive Unit said: “The closure of these premises is supported by the local housing association, local residents and local businesses, all of which deserve to live in a safe, drug-free environment without fearing intimidation from these criminals.
“Anti-social behaviour is taken very seriously by Derbyshire police. ASB can seriously damage the quality of life for residents and has a massive impact on neighbourhoods and communities.
“Under the new legislation, this is the first closure Derbyshire Constabulary have actioned. It has enabled us to work alongside other agencies in order to take swift action in closing the premises and restoring public confidence.”
A total of eight people were arrested at the address over the last six weeks for offences including possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, allowing premises to be used to supply Class A drugs and possession of heroin.
A local resident said: “I am so happy with the way in which the police have dealt with the closure of the premises; I am no longer in fear now this anti-social behaviour has been tackled.
“I can now start to get my life back on track and feel safe in my home again.”
The tenants of the flat were Martin Dakin (36) and his girlfriend Melissa Wheatley (30) who was a frequent visitor.
Dakin was charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and allowing premises to be used to supply Class A drugs and appeared at Derby Magistrates Court on Thursday, March 9 and was remanded in custody. He will next appear at Derby Crown Court on March 23.
Wheatley was charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and allowing premises to be used to supply Class A drugs, she was released on court bail and is to appear at Derby Crown Court on the same date.
If you have concerns about drugs in your neighbourhood contact police on 101.
To report crime anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 11.