Bath crack house raid is welcomed by neighbours
Neighbours have cautiously welcomed the closure of a drugs den in a Bath block of flats – but say something should have been done sooner.
A joint operation by the police and social landlord, the Sovereign Housing Association, saw a “crack house” order implemented at a property in Inchalloch, in Snow Hill.
Tenant Sherrie Banks was ordered to leave and the flat will now be boarded up for the next three months before it is renovated and made ready for someone else to move in.
The authorities have been investigating anti-social behaviour and illegal activity at the address for years and have compiled evidence to show both heroin and crack cocaine was being used and may have been dealt from there. Matters came to a head earlier this year when Jessie Harris, Banks’ boyfriend at the time, was left with serious injuries after being stabbed during an altercation at the flat.
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Two men, father and son Jimmy and Anthony Tagg, are now serving prison sentences for the attack.
Other people living in the building said they were often afraid to venture out of their homes after dark because they were fearful of what was going on in the ground floor flat.
Two women, who did not want to be named, said Harris was the real cause of the problems and had been aggressive to most of the other residents at one time or another. One of them said: “The effect it had on me was always being nervous about coming in and out of the building. I have a lot of grandchildren and I was worried about what they were going to face.
“I definitely feel a lot more relaxed with Jessie no longer on the scene.”
The other added: “I had seen him down in the hallway, topless, with blood all down his arms. He was just very unpredictable.”
The women said they had made numerous complaints to Sovereign over the past three years, begging for something to be done to ban Harris from the building and reporting the strong smell of drugs coming from the flat.
But they feel their concerns were ignored or not taken seriously enough.
A Sovereign spokesman said it started receiving complaints about the address in autumn 2010 and, after warnings from the housing association, things went relatively quiet until June this year.
That was when an injunction banning Harris from entering the building was obtained.
He added: “We’d like to thank the residents of Inchalloch flats for their patience and perseverance on this matter. Despite the intimidation and threats to which they were subjected, they were able to provide information that enabled Sovereign and local police to present a robust case to achieve this outcome.
“Sovereign aims to help build and support strong and cohesive communities, and we are determined to take action against anti-social behaviour, which causes such misery to neighbours.”
Tim Harris, Bath police’s anti-social behaviour manager, said both the police and Sovereign had to prove to the courts they had taken previous action against the tenant before they were able to obtain the closure order from the courts.