A class A drugs den has been shut down by council officers in the first action of its kind in the county under new laws.
On Thursday, a property in Hemel Hempstead was issued with a premises closure order, following the introduction of new powers under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act which came into effect only last month.
The council uncovered evidence that the home was being used by a number of people in connection with class A drug use – with large numbers of needles and burnt spoons reportedly found discarded at the property on several occasions.
Police also attended the address 20 times in the last 6 months, including calls to violent incidents.
Dacorum Borough Council successfully obtained a court order to close a property for three months following a series of incidents at the address.
The order, under the new law, allows either the police or local authorities to apply for premises to be closed if the behaviour of tenants causes disorder, a serious nuisance to the public, or if it is being used for criminal acts.
Cllr Neil Harden, portfolio holder for residents and regulatory services, said: “We believe this is the first premises closure in Hertfordshire using the new tools and powers, which is a fantastic piece of work by Dacorum’s Anti-social Behaviour team and legal department.
“It involved a lot of evidence-gathering under a tight 24 hour deadline, but the new closure power has proven to be fast and flexible in allowing us to protect victims and communities by closing a place causing serious anti-social behaviour.”
The property will now remain closed for three months, and anyone in breach of the closure order will face up to 6 months in jail, a fine or both.
A spokesman for the council said it anticipates this closure will be the first of many that the anti-social behaviour team will undertake.