Drug dealers booted out in major crackdown on anti-social behaviour

A housing association has booted drug dealers out of its homes and reclaimed them for honest tenants.

In a no-nonsense approach social landlord Cartrefi Conwy has gone to court to seize back two homes – in Capel Garmon and Rhos-on-Sea – from two tenants convicted by criminal courts of drug offences.

“We won’t tolerate drug offences committed in our homes,” said Cartrefi Conwy’s senior anti-social
behaviour officer Jan Jones.

The move comes as Cartrefi Conwy has just won Welsh Government approval for its tough but fair approach and becomes one of the very few housing associations in Wales to be awarded the  coveted Wales Housing Management Standard for tackling anti-social behaviour.

The award was made after the Welsh Government analysed around 12 months of evidence from Cartrefi Conwy about how it has tackled anti-social behaviour.

Cartrefi Conwy took over responsibility for housing from Conwy County Borough Council in 2008 and has now nearly completed £30 million pound programme of improvements to its 3,800 properties.

But the social landlord has not hesitated to use the courts if necessary to take action against tenants who blight the lives of others with their anti-social behaviour.

Jan said:”We have been supported by legal technical expertise from the legal services team at Conwy County  Borough Council while the police and, in some cases, other housing associations and agencies have also been very helpful.”

Conwy Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate and Regulatory Services, Cllr Philip Evans welcomed the robust stance taken by Cartrefi Conwy.

He said, “It is imperative that everyone works together to take action against the minority that cause misery by acting anti-socially on our streets and on our estates.

“This sends a very clear message: commit offences and your home is at risk. I hope this reassures the public that their concerns are important and that we can help to make people feel safer in their neighbourhood.”

Only last September Cartrefi Conwy took five tenants to county court with housing association Cymdeithas Tai Clwyd and North Wales Police to crack down on anti-social behaviour on the Hendy Estate in Tal-y-Bont.

Five residents signed undertakings not to cause anti-social behaviour – or face the threat prison if they broke their word.

This week (Mon Feb 21) one of the five broke their word and was hauled back before a district judge at the county court in Llandudno.

“One of those who gave an undertaking broke his word and got a three month suspended sentence and had to agree to extend the undertaking for another two years,” added Jan. “The judge told him next time he would not hesitate to send him to prison for three months and I think it frightened him.”

In the drug cases, a tenant living in a three bed property in Capel Garmon was found by police to be cultivating about 180 cannabis plants, while in Rhos-on-Sea a police raid uncovered heroin at the home of a tenant and her partner, where two children were also living.

“If a tenant is found guilty by the courts of drug use we can apply for possession of the property. It is not always guaranteed success but in these last two cases we were successful.

“In both cases they were local people who had been tenants for some time and in both cases they were jailed. We have another similar drug case in progress at the moment in the Mochdre area.”

But court is not the first resort, as Jan explained: “We do a lot of unacceptable behaviour contracts which is a low-level intervention which often works. It involves meeting the tenant, with the police, and where the tenant voluntarily signs a contract to behave.

“If that does not work we go to court for an injunction for an undertaking.”

In its evidence to the Welsh Government, Cartrefi Conwy was able to show that over the last 12 months it has had tenants sign 40 acceptable behaviour contracts; given 15 final tenancy warnings and 15 anti-social behaviour injunctions; secured nine undertakings; were granted three possessions and three postponed possessions.

The Welsh Management Standard for tackling anti-social behaviour is awarded to housing authorities who demonstrate “a visible commitment to tenants, residents and other interested parties to do all it reasonably can to provide an excellent service to tackle anti social behaviour”.

Cartrefi Conwy also had to demonstrate it had a good working partnership with organisations such as North Wales Police, Youth Justice, and Conwy County Borough Council.

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden said: “We are very proud of the work being done by Jan and the members of her team which, supported by the expertise and local knowledge of the Conwy Council’s legal team, is delivering tangible results.

“The official recognition of the Welsh Government is richly deserved and underlines our on-going commitment to creating communities to be proud of.”

Related Posts with Thumbnails