A crackdown on the ‘county lines’ drug dealing scourge in York has seen the court close two council homes in the city.
York Magistrates’ Court took action after hearing that anti-social behaviour was blighting the lives of neighbours.
Magistrates issued a premises closure order to City of York Council for a home in Dale Street, off Nunnery Lane, on October 9.
This follows a number of criminal incidents, some of which involved drugs and violence.
The police supported the council to secure the order which prohibits anyone except the tenant from entering or remaining in the property. The tenant has since ended the tenancy and the flat will be re-let as soon as possible.
And on Tuesday (5 November), the council secured the full closure of a flat at Wensley House, Holgate.
It comes after police attended drug-related incidents involving offensive weapons at the property. The order will be in force for three months from the date of issue.
Courage of the community
Premises closure orders can be used to tackle anti-social and sometimes illegal and violent behaviour at a property.
This may be caused or aggravated by visitors – and can be out of the control of the tenant or encouraged by them.
The recent home closures form part of an operation to cut county lines activity, where drug trafficking take place from large cities to smaller towns. Under the closure orders it is a criminal offence to enter or remain on a property. Breaching the conditions can lead to penalties of up to a year’s imprisonment, fines or both.
The council’s executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods Cllr Denise Craghill said:
Criminal behaviour is unacceptable and these orders are very effective ways of ensuring that it stops.
Premises closure orders, along with routine policing, can help breaking the cycle of criminality and repeat offending, with which a very small minority of people can blight the lives of neighbours and the immediate community.
The closure comes at a cost of a much-needed council home which we hope to re-let as soon as possible.
The courage of the local community in supporting us to stand up to this anti-social and criminal behaviour should not be underestimated.
Neighbourhood Policing Commander for York and Selby Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield said: “Tackling county lines and the violence and antisocial behaviour associated with it is a major priority for North Yorkshire Police,” adding:
It involves the exploitation of the young and the vulnerable and requires a response from not just the police, but many partner agencies too – we can’t do it alone.
This action by City of York Council is a great example of true joint working and will help to disrupt the misery caused by out-of-town drug dealers in the neighbourhood.