Flat from hell closed down in Berkhamsted
A flat taken over by youths to fuel their drug habits has been closed down after making life a living hell for nearby neighbours.
The home, in Riverside Gardens, Berkhamsted, had been a hive of anti-social behaviour for six months – with a serious knife assault causing cops to visit, while overdoses had also been reported at the property.
Residents reported the smell of drugs, playing of loud music, and visitors shouting and screaming at all hours.
Police patrols were stepped up at the property, and officers were even offered drugs earlier this month by one of the people staying at the flat with his 16-year-old girlfriend.
The closure order, which was pursued by Dacorum Borough Council, was to close the residence owned by 34-year-old Natalie Dibble.
Ms Dibble, who is known not to be currently living at the property, had allowed the rowdy individuals to stay at the flat.
Meanwhile neighbours, many of whom have young families, were disturbed day and night and felt unsafe in their homes.
The council said that residents were afraid to report incidents through fear of repercussions.
In a hearing at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Friday (January 19), council officers persuaded the court that it was likely the criminal behaviour and disorder would continue, and that drugs would remain rife at the premises if an order were not made.
The court agreed, granting the order to close the property for three months. Anyone in breach of the closure order will face up to a year in jail, a fine, or both.
The council confirmed it was now taking steps to repossess the property.
Councillor Neil Harden, portfolio holder for residents and corporate services at the council, said: “We have obtained this closure thanks to the partnership work of our anti-social behaviour team, legal department and the Berkhamsted Safer Neighbourhood Police team.
“It could also not have happened without the help and evidence from courageous local residents who had simply had enough of this unacceptable behaviour in their neighbourhood.
“Using this legislation is a really effective tool for the council to combat serious antisocial behaviour which has caused so much distress to the local community, especially in a case where the property is not being lived in by the tenant.”