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Volunteers seal up derelict East End drugs haunt

PUBLISHED: 18:30 03 August 2011

Ruhana Ali from Telco negotiates with neighbourhood police

Ruhana Ali from Telco negotiates with neighbourhood police

Carmen Valino

Activists have taken direct action to brick up a derelict building that has been used as a drugs haunt in London's East End.

Members of Telco, The East London Communities Organisation, turned up outside the three-storey building in Cavell Street, Whitechapel, after delivering an ultimatum to Tower Hamlets councillors to ‘get it sorted.’

They arrived with tools to secure broken windows and doors to stop drug addicts using it.

Police had already cleared junkies out and the council had cemented in breeze blocks across the door, but there was evidence intruders had returned.

Telco member Jude Padfield, curate at St Paul’s Church in Shadwell, said: “Closing down drug haunts is a critical issue. We’re doing this in partnership with families and property owners.”

His church has been joined by the nearby Darul Ummah mosque to help create the East End’s first ‘City Safe’ zone, aimed to be free of street crime.

But Cllr Shahed Ali told the East London Advertiser tonight: “The council had already taken action with breeze blocks, but people still attempted to enter and undo some of the materials.

“The building is privately owned. We contacted the landlord who then took action to remedy the problem.”

The Telco volunteers are hoping they might use the building one day for the community, if it remains empty.

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