?Police officers shut down an Abergavenny drug den last week after locals reported drug-dealing, fighting and anti-social behaviour coming from an address in Park Avenue.
Four officers from Gwent Police cleaned out the problem residence on Friday and shuttered the property using a Closure Order issued by the courts, after neighbours made numerous complaints relating to hard drugs.
Using the order for the first time, local police were granted powers to remove all four residents and close down the property, bringing an abrupt end to anti-social behaviour locals said marred the quiet area of Abergavenny.
Neighbours complained of ’24-hour’ drug-dealing, visitors and residents of the property fighting in the street, rubbish being strewn across gardens and in hedges, and frequent visits to the address from emergency services.
One elderly couple are said to have left the area owing to anti-social behaviour coming from 59a Park Avenue. Another Abergavenny native said she put off starting a family due to the disruption caused to the local area.
PC Adam Hollings, Abergavenny ward manager, said the closure brought a long period of anti-social behaviour to an end.
“Local residents have had to live in fear of crime, violence and anti-social behaviour from this address for a long time. We have worked hard to gather overwhelming evidence to present to the court to apply for this closure order today. The order means that everyone will be out of the property today and we have arranged for all the doors and windows to be secured with metal shutters this afternoon.”
After months of gathering evidence, police presented their case to Newport magistrates on Friday morning, who agreed the property was central to criminal activity marring the local area and causing residents distress.
The final straw, police said, was a photograph of a man appearing to inject drugs into his groin in nearby Bailey Park. The harrowing image went viral on social media back in March. Police said a recent upturn in such behaviour in Bailey Park was linked to the property, which sits just across the road.
PC Hollings and his team, carried out the Closure Order within 90 minutes of it be granted by the court.
“The period of the closure is three months.,” he said. “We can apply for an extension but we are hopeful that we can work with the owner to change the use of the property to avoid any future problems. Abergavenny Neighbourhood Policing team are committed to reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and this order forms just one part of the initiatives that are currently ongoing to make the town a safer place for everyone.”
The four-strong team raided the ground-floor property Friday lunchtime, having forewarned residents 24 hours earlier, that they would be turfed out. Two dwellers have been re-housed, whilst another two have made alternative arrangements, police said.
Clearing the property, one resident finished packing and left as police began clearing each room. PC Adam Hollings was forced to bash down one locked bedroom door, though the occupant had left earlier.
Inside the property, evidence of hard drug use, including syringes, tin foil and a glass pipe commonly used to smoke Crack Cocaine and Methamphetamine, littered the floor and furniture. Graffiti and drug-related scribbles covered one bedroom wall, alongside warnings to police and visitors.
Most of the wall scribes detailed the visitors’ name and date of birth, and apparently denoted their current drug of use. Empty crisp packets and cereal boxes were packing-taped to the walls throughout the four-bedroom property.
Police said the condition was ‘better than usual’, adding that in previous raids, officers have found children living amongst drug-related squalor.
Using the Closure Order for the first time in Abergavenny, police added that the clearing of the property should have a ‘massive impact’ on the wellbeing of local residents.