THE courts have allowed two council homes in York to be closed in a crackdown on drug-related anti-social behaviour.

This action has been part of recent activity to curb drug trafficking from large cities to smaller towns, known as 'county lines'. This can involve criminal activity around a home which council and police officers have worked together to stop.

On October 9, York Magistrates’ court issued a Premises Closure Order to City of York Council for a home in Dale Street, off Nunnery Lane. This follows a number of criminal incidents, some of which involved drugs and violence.

The police supported the council to secure the order which prohibits anyone except the tenant from entering or remaining the property.

The council said the tenant has since ended the tenancy and the flat will be re-let as soon as possible.

On November 5, the council secured the full closure of a flat at Wensley House, Holgate. This follows drug-related incidents involving offensive weapons which were attended by North Yorkshire Police and who have backed the council’s action to close this home. The order will be in force for three months from the date of issue.

Premises Closure Orders are often used to break a cycle of anti-social and sometimes illegal and violent behaviour at the property. This may be caused or aggravated by visitors and can sometimes be out of the control of the tenant or encouraged by them.

It is a criminal offence to enter / remain on a property and so breach the terms of the closure order which can lead to penalties of up to a year’s imprisonment, fines or both.

Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods at City of York Council, said: “Criminal behaviour is unacceptable and these orders are very effective ways of ensuring that it stops.

“Premises closure orders, along with routine policing, can help breaking the cycle of criminality and repeat offending, with which a very small minority of people can blight the lives of neighbours and the immediate community. The closure comes at a cost of a much-needed council home which we hope to re-let as soon as possible.

“The courage of the local community in supporting us to stand up to this anti-social and criminal behaviour should not be underestimated.”

Superintendent Lindsey Butterfield, neighbourhood policing commander for York and Selby, added: “Tackling 'county lines' and the violence and antisocial behaviour associated with it is a major priority for North Yorkshire Police. It involves the exploitation of the young and the vulnerable and requires a response from not just the police, but many partner agencies too – we can’t do it alone.

“This action by City of York Council is a great example of true joint working and will help to disrupt the misery caused by out-of-town drug dealers in the neighbourhood.”

Micklegate ward councillor Jonny Crawshaw commented: "I’d like to thank the local residents for their ongoing patience and support in tackling this issue. Without their willingness to stand up for their community we might not have reached this point. I know how difficult this past few months have been and I hope the area can now return to something of the quiet tranquility it has always previously enjoyed.”