COUNTY NEWS: First house in Sussex ‘closed’ because of anti-social behaviour

LEGAL history was made on Friday (June 5) after a house was ‘closed’ in Sussex because of allegations of anti-social behaviour.

Police in Ash Grove, Bognor Regis
Police in Ash Grove, Bognor Regis

Arun District Council and Sussex Police applied to magistrates in the afternoon for a closure notice on 31, Ash Grove, in Bognor Regis, after reports of alleged nuisance behaviour from the home.

After considering the unprecedented court ruling to shut down the house, magistrates agreed to support the police and the council.

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Chairman of the bench at Chichester Magistrates’ Court, Lloyd Hanks said a document submitted by the authorities showed ‘harassment and alarm’ had been caused to the community because of people using the property in an anti-social way.

Police at 31 Ash Grove, Bognor Regis.

“It quite a damning document if I can say that,” he said.

The order was made under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

“We believe that a person has engaged in disorderly, offensive or criminal behaviour on that premises and perhaps that order is necessary,” said Mr Hanks.

Earlier, police constable Michael Jones from the Bognor neighbourhood policing team said in court the order could help bring a sense of ‘normality’ back to the surrounding community.

The closure order signed by magistrates.

“We feel it’s necessary for two main reasons,” PC Jones told magistrates.

“Firstly, an attempt to allow the local community to return to some form of normality. They’re obviously having a very bad experience in a very short period of time.”

Secondly, PC Jones said it could help break the cycle for the people causing the nuisance if they could not access the house any more and no longer associated with the same people.

The order was enforced on Friday evening with police officers at the property boarding up the doors and windows and posting the closure order, signed by the magistrate.

The order lasts for three months. At the end of that period, the authorities can apply to have it renewed once more for a further three months.

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