Drug addicts banned by court from entering the Berner Estate in Whitechapel
- Credit: Google
Yobs have been banned by magistrates from going onto a housing estate in Whitechapel which has been plagued by drug addicts.
Families have won a three-month exclusion order after handing evidence to Tower Hamlets Homes which runs the Berner Estate off Commercial Road, following months of nightly anti-social activity.
The clampdown by police and Tower Hamlets Council has been based on evidence from 22 tenants which was used to obtain an order at Thames Magistrates’ Court banning “unauthorised people” from entering the estate communal areas.
“We are working with the police and the estate landlords to keep the families safe,” deputy mayor Sirajul Islam insisted.
“The court found in favour of our application for a partial closure notice—we take seriously the anti-social behaviour and its negative impact on people.”
Cllr Islam, the cabinet member for housing, raised the complaints of anti-social activity with the social housing organisation which held a consultation to get the evidence that was then presented to magistrates to ban anyone going onto the estate who has “no business being there”.
Residents were being intimidated by addicts using the stairwells for drug-taking, magistrates were told.
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Rough sleepers were also “acting aggressively” and littering the stairwells.
So police supported by the council and Tower Hamlets Homes applied for a Partial Closure Notice under the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour and Policing Act. It bans anyone “without a valid reason” for being on the estate.
The three-month ‘exclusion’ makes it illegal just being on the estate without proper reason, with the risk of arrest rather than just being moved on.
Anyone convicted of breaching the order could land a jail sentence up to 12 months or be fined £5,000, the local authority warns.
The effectiveness of the order will be reviewed by police in the New Year.
It could be extended an extra three months if successful.
The move is only the second time Tower Hamlets Council has gone to court for a partial closure order, following the first ban at a tower block in Bethnal Green earlier this year.