A NIGHTMARE tenant has been evicted from a Darlington home after alleged drug dealing and associated disturbances made neighbours’ lives a misery.

Darlington Borough Council say they first started receiving complaints about the Surtees Street home about ten months ago.

Over the ensuing months, council officers worked to gather enough evidence to serve a closure order on the property through the courts.

The complaints centred around suspected drug dealing and visitors to the house at all hours.

Things escalated one night around October when a man who had been attacked with a machete was taken back the house and the emergency services swooped on the street.

The Northern Echo:

Anna Willey, Darlington Borough Council’s anti-social behaviour and civic enforcement manager, said the closure order was used a last resort but it sent out a strong message that consistently troublesome tenants would not be tolerated.

She said: “There have been numerous complaints over the last few months, mainly about visitors to the house allegedly taking drugs until the early hours of the morning and the fall-out when people come into the street fighting and damaging the windows of the house.

“One of their associates was attacked with a machete resulting in really nasty head and leg injuries.

“It wasn’t at the property, but he was brought to the property and the palava of the ambulance and police in street were among the things that residents were disturbed by.”

Ms Willey said that the council tried to engage with the tenant to help him change his ways but resorted to the closure notice when their attempts were rebuffed and the problems continued.

She said: “It is a last resort but there doesn’t even need to be a drugs element anymore for anti-social behaviour to close down a premises, this one obviously did have a drugs element.

“Hopefully it will send a strong message to other people who are dealing or taking drugs from addresses.”

The Northern Echo:

Ms Willey said that the tenant has ‘not been thrown on the streets’ and is understood to be staying with family whilst being advised to seek support from the council’s homelessness team.

The property is privately owned but the council has been unable to contact the landlord.

The closure order will last for three months, which can be extended to six months through the courts.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Karl Lowe said: “We have been working jointly with the council’s anti-social behaviour team to try and address the problems because it is affecting the community and their quality of life.

“And this closure order is an element of that joint working, along with the community, to stand against this type of behaviour.

“It will be a relief and hopefully it is restoring a bit more confidence in the community that if they do report these things that something is done.

“We need to be looking at where they go to make sure that this doesn’t just repeat itself in another location, so the work doesn’t end here.”

At the time of Friday’s eviction, officers were searching the property for evidence to determine if further police action would be taken.