Closure order on Hitchin home after drug activity and rowdy behaviour

Officers have imposed a closure order on a house in Hitchin.

Officers have imposed a closure order on a house in Hitchin. - Credit: Archant

A closure order has been imposed on a house in Hitchin after repeated complaints from neighbours about drug-related activity and rowdy behaviour.

Police safer neighbourhood officers and housing association Settle – formerly North Hertfordshire Homes – yesterday secured the closure order from Stevenage magistrates, and closed up the property in Milestone Road later that day.

All people are forbidden from entering for three months. Anyone who does without authorisation will be arrested and could be jailed, fined up to £5,000 or both.

Safer neighbourhood Sgt Steve Oliphant said: “The closure order is just part of a long-running multi-agency investigation into the behaviour of those using this address. It was sought following numerous complaints from concerned residents who were affected by the behaviour of the occupant and their associates.

“The evidence we were able to provide was significant and despite three young children living with their mother, the tenant of the property, the magistrates had no option but to issue the closure order.

“It is not a decision that we took lightly, but despite trying to work with the tenant for some 12 months, matters continued to deteriorate. Partner agencies are continuing to work with the family.

“I hope this sends out a very clear message to others who engage in anti-social behaviour and related crime, and who think that by having their young children at the address, this will protect them from being excluded from their home.

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“We will continue to work to protect and safeguard our communities and use the legislation available if we need to.

“We hope this action will provide local residents with some respite from the ongoing issues.”

He added: “We take reports like this very seriously and along with our partners, have worked extremely hard to gather evidence to support the application. I would continue to urge members of the community to report any anti-social behaviour of this nature to the police.”