Flat shut down after anti-social behaviour

We have successfully obtained a closure order on a flat in Berkhamsted. The order was sought for the residence of Natalie Dibble, following police reports of anti-social behaviour over a period of six months. Ms Dibble, who is known not to be currently staying at the Riverside Gardens flat, has been letting individuals that have caused anti-social behaviour stay there.

The reported anti-social behaviour included the smell of drugs, the playing of loud music, visitors shouting and screaming at all hours, as well as a serious knife assault. Police were regularly called out to the property and have increased their patrols in the area as it became known as a place where young people would drink and take drugs. Overdoses at the property had also been reported. And when council officers visited in January, the person currently staying in the flat with his 16-year-old girlfriend offered them drugs.

Neighbours, many of whom have young families, were disturbed day and night. They felt unsafe in their homes and were afraid to report incidents through fear of repercussions.

Using the legislation of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, our officers effectively demonstrated to St Albans Magistrates' Court on Friday (19 January) that it was likely the criminal behaviour, serious anti-social behaviour and disorder would continue and that drugs would continue to be used at the premises if an order were not made. Magistrates 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.

Councillor Neil Harden, Portfolio Holder for Residents and Corporate Services, 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 us to combat serious anti-social 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."

We will now be taking steps to repossess the property.