Bailiffs evict occupants of drug den apartment in Preston
Bailiffs, backed by police, have evicted three people from a drug den in Preston after a year-long battle by the city's largest social housing landlord to repossess the property.
A warrant was executed on the flat at City Court, in Percy Street, near to the bus station, where it was alleged occupants had been dealing Class A substances, leaving other residents to live in fear.
The move came 12 months after Community Gateway Association (CGA) began legal proceedings to remove those living there.
"Due to Covid-19 restrictions the UK Government placed a moratorium on all evictions which prevented us from taking the matter before the courts," said Graham Dunkley, CGA's tenancy enforcement manager.
"The delay unfortunately allowed the tenant to continue to use the property for illegal and immoral purposes.
"We continued to support a number of tenants living in and around the complex whist awaiting the re-opening of the courts and engaged the services of dedicated on-site security. We also supported Preston Police to obtain a closure order at the address.
"We would like to thank the local community who supported us to obtain this eviction.
"Many were significantly impacted over a long period and shared that they felt their lives had been turned upside down and that they were scared to let their children play out or for their families to visit.
"At Community Gateway, we take a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour and we will not hesitate to act against persistent offenders like these."
CGA said it decided to take action last March after discovering the property was being used for the use and supply of drugs.
It is alleged several serious violent incidents occurred at the premises and it was thought other residents and CGA staff visiting the area were at risk.
To provide immediate and ongoing protection whilst waiting for the court hearing, the housing association said it obtained a civil Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction against the occupants.
Community Gateway took over the complex in 2018 from another landlord and the evicted tenant was already living there at the time.