A Worthing flat found to be at the centre of the dealing of Class A drugs has been shut for three months after work led by Adur & Worthing Councils, in partnership with Sussex Police and Worthing Homes.
Agencies acted to get a court order after members of the public reported persistent antisocial behaviour from the property in Northcourt Road.
Regular police patrols to the property identified the address as a hub for drug activity involving dealers from London and vulnerable young people. This was confirmed by follow-up visits, when evidence of Class A drugs and weapons were found by officers.
Several attempts were made with the tenant to put an end to the issues.
But, with the problems persisting, Adur & Worthing Councils’ safer communities team, working with Sussex Police and Worthing Homes, have now obtained the first ever Full Closure Order in the area.
This prevents any person from entering the premises at Flat 2, 34 Northcourt Road in Worthing for the next three months – the maximum time allowed under law. If anyone does, it becomes a criminal offence.
The property is thought to be part of the county lines network – which involves an urban criminal gang travelling to smaller locations to sell heroin and crack cocaine.
Councillor Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Drug dealing is becoming an increasing problem across our communities and has a harmful impact on so many of our residents, particularly the young and the vulnerable. That’s why it is vital that we work with partners to make it clear that we have a zero tolerance approach.
“We have an excellent track record of working with partners, such as the police and Worthing Homes, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure we crackdown on those responsible for bringing harmful substances onto our streets.”
Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, divisional commander for Worthing, Horsham and Adur for Sussex Police, said: “This is another example of us working in partnership in Worthing to target criminals who are seeking to exploit vulnerable people to facilitate their drug dealing activity.
“This creates harm within our communities and the public can expect to see more of this type of action, alongside police enforcement work such as executing drug warrants and utilising stop and search tactics.”
Simon Anderson, Head of Customer Services at Worthing Homes, said: “We take all reports of antisocial behaviour seriously and, where drug dealing is involved, will do everything in our power to put a stop to it.
“Despite initial intensive work by our housing team with the resident it became clear that further action needed to be taken. We are pleased with the outcome that this joint work has achieved and hope that it serves as a warning to others.”
The closure order, obtained under the Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, was heard before Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 15th February.