A closure order has been imposed on a house in Widnes in response to persistent anti-social behaviour and breaches of the current coronavirus regulations.
Over the past month officers have attended the address in Foster Street on more than 30 occasions, to deal with reports of groups of people gathering inside and outside the house and blighting the community with bad behaviour.
As well as ensuring anyone who does not live at the property leaves the area, officers have issued persistent visitors with fixed penalty notices for refusing to comply with the regulations imposed by the government to protect the NHS and save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
With this failing to stop people from gathering at the house at all hours of the day and night, officers from the local Problem Solving Team applied for a closure order under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Granted by Warrington Magistrates’ Court on Friday 24 April, the order makes it a crime for anyone other than the tenant to be at the property for up to three months.
Police Constable Ian Prashar, of the Halton Problem Solving Team, said: “The behaviour of people inside and outside the address in Foster Street caused those living in nearby properties significant alarm, harassment and distress.
“I am delighted that the closure order has been secured and I want to thank the members of the public who played a key role in this.
“The information they supplied was crucial in us gathering the evidence needed to secure the order.
“We want people to be able to live in their homes without having to suffer from the effects of unacceptable issues at neighbouring properties.
“The closure order is another example of our commitment to targeting those who undermine our communities and have a significant detrimental impact on the quality of life of local residents through unacceptable behaviour.
“I hope that this case encourages others to report and give statements regarding such behaviour at properties they live near.
“As this case shows, we will do something about it.”
Officers will conduct regular checks of the house over the next three months to ensure that the order is not breached.
If anyone is found to have breached it they are liable to be arrested and face up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “Everyone should be aware of the need to stay at home to protect the NHS, save lives and stop the spread of Covid-19. It is really encouraging to see that the vast majority of people in Cheshire are doing this, only going out for the essential reasons.
“In this case, those who have been part of the gatherings inside and outside the house in Foster Street have not only made neighbours’ lives a misery through their excessive noise and anti-social behaviour, by not adhering to the lockdown regulations they have increased the chances of the coronavirus spreading, putting more lives at risk and potentially unnecessary strain on emergency medical care.
“They have also tied up a significant amount of police resources at a time when, like all other emergency services and key workers, our officers and staff are putting their own lives and the lives of their families at risk on a daily basis whilst working in really challenging circumstances.”
Anyone who is concerned about anti-social behaviour or group gatherings in their community is urged to call Cheshire Constabulary on 101.
Alternatively, residents can report information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.