Unauthorised visitors have been banned from a Leeds tower block as part of work by the police and council to tackle drug use and anti-social behaviour.
Officers from Operation Leodis – a team funded by Leeds City Council to tackle mainly housing-related anti-social behaviour – have secured a partial closure order for Meynell Heights, in Meynell Approach, Holbeck.
Residents’ lives have been blighted by long-running issues with drug use and anti-social behaviour. Drug users have been seen injecting themselves in the communal areas and hypodermic needles and drugs paraphernalia have been left in stairwells and bin chutes.
People have been found sleeping rough in bin chutes and stairwells have been used as toilets.
The Operation Leodis team carried out a survey of residents and found 65 per cent said they had experienced problems in the block and were keen for action to tackle it.
The order, which was granted under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates Court on Friday (10 November 2017) applies to the common areas of the block.
It means that anyone who is not a resident or invited guest is banned from entering the premises and can face arrest and prosecution.
Any breach of the order is a criminal offence punishable with up to six months in prison.
Chief Inspector Chris Matthews, who heads neighbourhood policing in the City and South Leeds, said:
“Residents have been understandably appalled and disgusted by the nature of the anti-social behaviour they have faced around their homes for some considerable time.
“It is completely unacceptable and we are determined to do everything we can to tackle it. The granting of this order will give real support to the ongoing partnership work we are carrying out to tackle the issues and we hope that residents will see some significant improvements.
“We will not tolerate behaviour that blights the lives of others, and this latest action should serve as a clear warning to those who think they can persist in making peoples’ lives a misery.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action to make sure these issues are not just displaced elsewhere.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds said:
“The actions of these individuals who are not tenants at this particular tower block were completely unacceptable and we were determined that measures be put in place to stop this type of behaviour occurring immediately. Whilst applying for a partial closure order through the courts is certainly not an option that we consider with partners lightly, the wellbeing of our tenants always comes first.
“Through this step, anyone who does not have permission to be in this tower block could face prosecution and even a prison sentence if they ignore our warnings. I want to make it very clear that we will pursue further action against any individual who is found to be breaking any aspect of the court order.”
Officers will be actively enforcing the order through regular patrols of the block.
The Operation Leodis team is also working with Leeds City Council Housing and Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team to take action against flats which are linked to anti-social behaviour in the block.
If residents see people involved in anti-social behaviour in the communal areas they should report it to the police on 101 or to Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team on (0113) 222 4402.