In the first of its kind in the area following repeated complaints of anti-social behaviour, arson with intent to endanger life and an alleged attempted murder at the properties, police have been granted a closure order at four multi-occupancy houses on North Road, numbers 19 to 22.
The closure order, which is the biggest closure order ever applied for by Devon and Cornwall Police, was sanctioned on Thursday 21 June, by Exeter Magistrates’ Court.
There have been several violent and life-threatening incidents that have occurred at the premises, including assaults, an arson with intent to endanger life and the latest incident being an alleged attempted murder on the communal lawn.
Torridge Sector Inspector Shaun Kenneally said: “We welcome the closure order after experiencing daily issues with the premises which have caused occupants and local residents’ misery and grief which negatively impacts our community.
“We’ve been involved in previous multi-agency attempts to encourage the occupants of the premises to desist from such behaviour, however, despite extensive local work being carried out, the issues persisted.
“We have shared the local concerns about this address for some time, and have used new legislation to good effect after receiving numerous complaints and evidence from residents about criminal activity and unrelenting anti-social behaviour emanating from the premises and those persons connected to the premises.
“We have gathered statements from a number of occupants who felt unsafe at the properties. Our priority is not only to prevent crime and disorder but also to safeguard the community and ensure residents feel safe.
“All occupants affected by the closure order are being offered advice and assistance to secure suitable alternative housing.
“The neighbourhood and business community have continued to suffer as a consequence and this type of anti-social behaviour can no longer be tolerated.
“The closure order highlights the determination of Devon and Cornwall Police to take positive action against such anti-social behaviour.
“We would like to thank the occupants who have shown great courage in coming forward to give evidence, and who were willing to work with us on this matter. We are pleased to be able to work together with people in the local community to respond to their concerns in this way.
“We pride ourselves on how we work with our local community, and this is one example of the positive impact this can have when we work together on these issues.
“Antisocial behaviour significantly impacts people’s quality of life and this can only be tackled by the police and partner agencies working with the residents themselves.
“If anyone is suffering similar problems within their neighbourhood we would urge them not to suffer in silence and to come forward to talk to police on 101 or report concerns anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”