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Mayor welcomes closure of suspected drugs dens

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A photo of boarded up houses on Tennyson Street

Two next door drugs dens have been shut down with the occupants booted out after a successful Middlesbrough Council operation.

The authority successfully took separate cases to Teesside Magistrates' Court where it was heard there had been complaints relating to anti-social, disorderly and criminal behaviour at the neighbouring addresses on Tennyson Street in the town centre.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston today welcomed the closure order saying "the bad people bringing areas down will not win".

The area falls under the Newport ward Selective Landlord Licensing scheme and officers from the SLL team have led on securing the order alongside Cleveland Police and the Council's Locality Working scheme.

A community impact statement was also submitted to the court by ward councillor Chris Cooke who summed up the feeling of law-abiding residents as: "There is a climate of fear on Tennyson Street and streets nearby, with residents feeling helpless and unable to carry out everyday tasks."

The court heard in respect of the first privately rented property that the tenant had moved to the address in November 2020.

Since May 2021 there were 25 police intelligence log reports concerning the premises, most of which involved drug dealing - mainly crack cocaine - at or near to the address at all times of the day and night.

On two separate occasions, one in May this year and one in July, Middlesbrough Council Street Wardens witnessed drug dealing at the address with the words "he owes for that bag" heard on the first occasion.

Local residents have also reported an increase in violence and anti-social behaviour outside the premises by those wishing to buy drugs and reports of offensive weapons seen near the doorway of the premises, including a large kitchen knife and a plank of wood.

In respect of the second address since the tenants moved into the property in February this year there have been repeated reports of drug dealing, including one incident in which seven people were seen to be queuing in the street to be served from an upstairs window.

Reports of regular violent episodes were also made which included a stabbing, a golf club assault, a broken eye socket, a man falling from a first floor window after being assaulted and an assault leading to a broken leg.

The two tenants of this property were also seen pushing each other about in shopping trolleys.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: "Anyone suffering from horrendous anti-social behaviour like this needs to know they can speak to us in confidence and we'll take action to get rid of the troublemakers.

"The bad people bringing areas down will not win and we will throw everything we've got at making sure of that.

"I also want to praise Newport councillor Chris Cooke for his tireless work to help the council and police get these closures over the line. Chris has helped gather evidence and given evidence himself to help make sure these bad people out make life a lot better for the good residents."

Cllr Cooke added: "I'm really pleased the courts have listened to the problems we've been having in Tennyson Street and have approved these closure orders.

"No one in Middlesbrough should live in fear or feel unable to live a normal life doing everyday things. Hopefully these orders send a message to those bringing areas down that we won't accept it and tells everyone else that if you speak to us in confidence we'll do everything we can to help."

The house closure orders will last for three months.

In Middlesbrough the Selective Landlord Licensing scheme currently runs in North Ormesby and part of Newport ward, working with residents and landlords to help improve standards of rented accommodation and to tackle anti-social behaviour. 

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