Lancaster flat hit with closure order to prevent anti-social behaviour

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A flat which has been a focal point for drug dealing, anti-social behaviour and serious nuisance has been slapped with a closure order.

Flat 30, Arcon House, Heaton Road, Lancaster, has been the cause of major upset with residents who have had to endure loud parties, drug activity, and noise for nearly two years.

Tenant Peter Kelly was even forced to sleep on the sofa in his own flat after visitors took over his bedroom, some even growing a cannabis farm and taking and dealing drugs in his flat.

Lancaster City Council brought about the prosecution, in conjunction with police and their own anti-social behaviour officer.

Prosecuting for Lancaster City Council Rephael Walmsley told the court: “We seek to exclude all of tenant’s Mr Kelly’s visitors and named individuals, or people engaging or likely to be engaging in anti-social behaviour, criminal behaviour and serious nuisance.

“Peter Kelly, the tenant, was given a notice on October 9 warning him the order was going to be made.

“On October 16, the notice was served and posted on the premises and the entrance to the premises. It was also given to residents.

“Mr Kelly is a Lancaster City Council tenant. He has mental health difficulties and he is being victimised and bullied by visitors to his premises.

“We are concerned that Mr Kelly is safe and that the other residents are given the protection and help they need.”

Inspector David Geoffrey Tagg, anti-social behaviour officer for Lancaster City Council said: “This address has been known to us since 2002. Since 2015 there have been loud parties, music, drug abuse, shouting and screaming.

“There have been people visting the flat at 3am and 5am, banging on other flat windows.

“In December last year, the flat was raided and Class A drugs were seized. One person was arrested and charged but the problems continued.

“The city council was contacted by residents, some in tears down the phone and in person, in fear for their lives and terrified.

“Mr Kelly wanted to exclude other people from coming to the flat, he said ‘this is what I wanted, as I have never seen anything like it.’

“Since the closure notice was served on October 16, two people have already been dealt with by police for breaching the notice.”

PCSO David Owen has been with Lancashire Constabulary for 17 years, but for the last five years in the area where Arcon House is.

He told the court: “Peter Kelly has lived on his own in the flat and over the last few years there has been an increase in anti-social behaviour from within the building, mainly from flat 30.

“Peter is a very vulnerable person with regards to the people with him in his flat.

“They are taking advantage of him, he has to sleep on the settee in the lounge because his associates have taken over the front bedroom.

“He finds it difficult to refuse and say no because of the intimidation. They kick violently on his door to be let in.

“He has come to realise this is affecting his health, his sleep, his eating, plus the massive impact on the community.

“There was a period of time when cannabis was being grown in his flat, but it was the people visiting his flat taking over his flat.

“We are taking an active role in giving Peter Kelly support and protecting residents in Arcon House as well.

“We are trying to make things better for them.”

Magistrates granted the closure order on 30, Arcon House, Lancaster, for three months, ending on January 13, 2018.

The closure order means that it will be a criminal offence for any person, other than occupant Peter Kelly, or members of the emergency services, social services, mental health services or Lancaster City Council employee, to enter 30 Arcon House.

Rephael Walmsley told the court that there would be no application for costs due to the fact Mr Kelly was a victim and had been bullied. No order was made for costs.