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Exeter police start eviction proceedings against nightmare neighbour

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: April 29, 2014

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Police have begun eviction proceedings against a ‘nightmare neighbour’ who has caused misery to residents at a block of flats in Exeter.

Officers said the anti-social behaviour caused by Shantelle Bennett, 24, has blighted the lives of the community around her home in Rydal Mews, Windermere Close, Exeter for many years.

And yesterday police served her notice of eviction proceedings with a hearing set to take place at Exeter Magistrates Court on Wednesday. If she appeals the order a trial will be held on May 12.

Officers are seeking the closure order on her flat, which is owned by Sovereign Housing, following issues with drugs, loud music, noise and assaults relating to the property.

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Notices were posted on the front door of the flat and presented to her in person.

Earlier this month Bennett admitted three counts of contravening a noise abatement notice which was served last September when she was told to reduce the noise levels from her flat.

Every weekend in January her stereo music was blaring out as well as her TV, according to complaints from residents and community patrols.

Two positive drug raids have also been carried out at the address in 2012 and Bennett was convicted of an assault last year.

PC Mark Arthurs, of Exwick Neighbourhood police team, said it would be the first closure order “this side of the river” in Exeter and said it was a last resort.

He said: “We have been working for some time with our partner agencies to develop a case to commence proceedings for an Anti Social Behaviour Closure Order at this property.

“The local Policing Team including myself and PCSO Mike Lippett and PCSO Charlene Keefe

have been aware of on-going incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity. Whilst the Police and the Council have both separately successfully prosecuted the occupant Shantelle Bennett these ASB incidents have not subsided.”

The other tenant Joshua Cole was not part of the criminal and environmental health investigation but is still on the tenancy hence why the notice is served on both of them.

"There has been on-going anti-social behaviour, continuing issues with drugs, loud music, noise and assault," added PC Arthurs.

“We have been working with the partner agencies and tried to manage her behaviour and give her an alternative to this.

“This is one of the last ports of call. A lot of hard work has been put in to try and avoid this.

“Despite the court proceedings, complaints have continued and there has been no change in behaviour. We are not trying to victimise anyone and we tried to work with her. We have gone through the anti-social escalation process and tried to advise her throughout but her behaviour has been unacceptable.”

PC Arthurs has been working in Exwick for five years and said they have not applied for a closure order in that time.

"As far as I know we have not had one this side of the river before," he said.

"There has been one in St Davids and one in the city centre but it is rare that we get to this.”

If a full closure order is granted then the property will be bordered up and remain empty for at least three months.

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2 comments

  • kazfielder  |  April 29 2014, 1:29PM

    With people desperate for somewhere to live why is this dreadful behaviour tolerated for such long periods of time? The other residents in that block of flats have my deepest sympathies having had to put up with all that bad behaviour for so long!

    |   12
  • fannybaws  |  April 29 2014, 9:36AM

    It's a shame that all they can do is move her somewhere else to torment others...you'd think the eviction would act as a deterrent but looking at the previous action she doesn't care. I can just imagine what a scumbag she is!

    |   18

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