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CLOSURE ORDER: Violent drugs house in Linthorpe

CLOSURE ORDER: Violent drugs house in Linthorpe

Oliver Street where a drugs house has been boarded up for three months, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live

Residents on a Linthorpe street have revealed what it was like living next to a violent drugs house that saw activity every hour of the day.

The house on Oliver Street has been served a closure order meaning it will be boarded up for the next three months.

Middlesbrough County Court heard that the house had a ‘bouncer’ managing the door and between 60 and 70 people would visit the home every day.

Cleveland Police and Middlesbrough Council have worked with local residents to gather evidence to get the house shut down.

 

closure order

Closure order on the drugs house on Oliver Street, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live

Graham Mitchell, 58, who lives on the street, said: “It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.

“There was trouble 24/7, people coming and going all day, taxis coming up and down, people fighting and arguing, just non-stop.

“When we had hot weather I couldn’t have my windows open, it was just too noisy.”

He leaves the house early in the morning for his job as an engineer and people would be outside of the now boarded-up house.

Graham added: “I go to work at 5:30am and they were even there then. It was quite intimidating when you were just trying to get in your car to go to work. People were always begging for cigarettes.”

One resident in the street, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that he had reported the situation to Middlesbrough Council and Cleveland Police repeatedly.

He said that he even confronted the people in the house himself when the situation reached a tipping point.

He added: “I went out and I said, you are ruining this area, we want you out. I shouted it at them.”

Another person said that you could never get any peace and quiet.

She added: “It’s been terrible. My partner could get up at three or four or five in the morning, it didn’t matter what time he would get up, there would be someone at that door. I am not exaggerating, it was constant all the time.

“You couldn’t sleep for them, they would bang on the door, if they couldn’t get in the first time they’d start shouting, and then there were arguments. And then if somebody didn’t have the money [for the drugs] there was always trouble.”

However, one night she went outside for a cigarette to something especially alarming.

She added: “I woke up and opened the door and there was a body laid at the front of my door. I shouted at them. There was no movement so I nudged them.

“I thought they were dead, so I had to ring the police and the ambulance and they were saying ‘are they breathing?’. I said ‘ I don’t know but she’s not moving or responding whatsoever’.

“The emergency services came, woke her up and she was off her head. She never got in the ambulance and carried on doing whatever over the road.”

According to numerous people on the street, even the phone box was used as part of the drug-dealing operation.

One person, who didn’t want to disclose their name, said: “They used to drop the drugs off in the phone box and people would collect it from there. They used to deal in the alley too.”

Residents also recall a time, about a week before the tenants were moved out, when armed police arrived and the street was “fully loaded with guns”.

There is a bit of a mixed opinion on the road about whether people want to see new tenants move in after the three months or if they would like it to remain boarded up so they don’t have a repeat of the situation.

Oliver Street

Oliver Street in Linthorpe, Drug den at left next to take away, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live

One resident on the street added: “I don’t want it to happen again. I want a bit of peace and quiet, I think this area deserves it. If you want to make this town a nice place, you have to look after streets like this.”

Speaking about this issue earlier this week, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “We are fully committed to rooting out people who make a life a misery for good, law-abiding people in our communities.

“I am really pleased we have been able to secure this order and we hope that the people of Oliver Street and the surrounding area can go back to enjoying living in a good and strong community.”

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: “We first received notification of problems caused by the most recent tenants at this address on May 18 this year.

“We are pleased with the decision of the court on September 16 to grant the order to close the property.

“We have to follow the correct legal process and give the tenant and landlord
sufficient warnings of the complaints and would like to thank the residents who provided evidence and witness statements to allow us to take action.

“Any Middlesbrough resident suffering from anti-social behaviour should know that they can speak to our Neighbourhood Safety team in confidence and we will always investigate and take any action deemed appropriate to resolve matters.”

If someone remains in, or enters, the property within the next three months without a reasonable excuse then they could face 51 weeks in prison and/or a fine.

Earlier this week, Sergeant John Sproson, from Middlesbrough neighbourhood team, said: “We are committed to acting on information from our communities and thank them for their patience whilst we go through the necessary processes to obtain these orders.

“We will continue to work with residents and partners to tackle those who cause misery in our communities.”

 

Words: Emily Craigie, Local Democracy Reporter


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