POLICE say neighbours of an anti-social family in Exeter will be able to “sleep a little easier” after they were banned from their home.
Residents in Geneva Court have had to endure two years of “drunkenness, assaults, loud music, and rowdy behaviour” as part of a stream of anti-social behaviour, Exeter magistrates heard.
The court agreed to impose a closure order on 41 Geneva Court where Stuart Lee, 30, his mother Hazel Williams and stepfather Anthony Williams have been living. Police have been called to the property 50 times since August 2011.
It means that no-one but the property’s owner, Spectrum Housing, will be able to access it for three months and it will be boarded up tonight (Monday, August 5).
It is understood that Spectrum Housing is to launch separate eviction proceedings.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said she had endured “a living nightmare” over the past few months and said she was “full or praise” for the police for taking action.
Chris Rendall, prosecuting, told the court: “There has been swearing, fighting, significant disorder and there are more than 50 police records linked to the address in the past two years.
“The incidents occur at all times of the day and night. Two neighbours are now having to take anti-depressants because of what has happened and many are living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, with relationships being put under strain.”
James Calderbank, speaking on behalf of Lee, told the court that his client did not contest the closure order.
He said: “There may have been some exaggeration in some accounts but we accept there are clear grounds to make this order. Things got considerably worse after his mother and stepfather moved in having not been invited. They have now moved away.”
A closure order is granted on an application by the police or a local authority if it can be proven that the property in question is associated with anti-social behaviour.
Anyone who breaches the order can be fined or sent to prison. Lee will be permitted to enter the property on specified occasions in the company of police to retrieve his possessions.
Various agencies will now be working with Lee to find him new accommodation as he has Huntington’s Disease, a neuro-degenerative disorder that affects muscle coordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems.
PC Julie Chapman, beat manager for Newton and St Leonard's, said she welcomed the court's decision and said she wanted to thank her team including PCSO Kate Rees and PCSO Nic Unsworth for their efforts in securing this order.