Police close down Haverhill crack house

A CRACK house set up by London criminals trying to move in on the hard drugs market in a Suffolk town has been closed down under new police powers.Officers in Haverhill successfully gained a court order to close a ground-floor flat at 45 Park Road in the town to anyone but its occupant – 25-year-old drug addict Laura Hayes – after it became a notorious drugs den blighting the lives of neighbouring residents.

A CRACK house set up by London criminals trying to move in on the hard drugs market in a Suffolk town has been closed down under new police powers.

Officers in Haverhill successfully gained a court order to close a ground-floor flat at 45 Park Road in the town to anyone but its occupant – 25-year-old drug addict Laura Hayes – after it became a notorious drugs den blighting the lives of neighbouring residents.

It is the first time police have been forced to use the new powers to close down a crack house in west Suffolk.

Magistrates sitting in Sudbury yesterday heard how people had openly smoked crack cocaine pipes and injected heroin at the property, which is only yards from the Parkway Middle School.

The court was also told police intelligence revealed men from London had assaulted and intimidated Hayes in order to utilise her flat for the using and dealing of Class A drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin.

Insp Nick Bennett, of Suffolk police's anti-social behaviour unit, based in Bury St Edmunds, told the bench Hayes was vulnerable due to her addiction to Class A drugs and had become a victim of the men, who were trying to muscle in on the local drug trade.

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"Police are in receipt of a number of intelligent reports that from April this year, males from the London area have intimidated, harassed and assaulted her in order to set up a base for the sale of crack cocaine and heroin in Haverhill," he said.

Simon Jackson, of the Suffolk Housing Society, which owns the property, told the court how neighbours had made a number of complaints about the activity at 45 Park Road.

He said the complaints included late night disturbances, verbal and violent domestic instances and groups of youths hanging around and fighting outside the flats, which left other residents feeling intimidated.

He added neighbours had also reported seeing Hayes injecting heroin in the garden of the premises and that syringes and hypodermic needles had been found in a bin outside the flat.

Insp Bruce Gent, sector commander at Haverhill, told the court a survey carried out last week in the Park Road area revealed further evidence that the flat was being used for drug dealing purposes.

Residents also claim that people from the flat, including Hayes, often knocked on doors trying to sell goods, such as mobile phones for as little as £10, or just asking for cash.

Magistrates agreed to impose an order that forbids anybody accept Hayes from going into the property for the next three months, after it was heard police would check-up on the flat at least six times a day.

After the case, Insp Bennett said: "We believe people were dealing and using Class A drugs at the property.

"We also have intelligence that the men from London set up in Haverhill to move in on the Class A drugs market.

"Getting this order was extremely important to show local residents that we take crime and disorder very seriously and that Suffolk Constabulary will do all in its power to deal with criminals involved in dealing drugs.

"This case is a first in west Suffolk and while crack houses are comparatively rare in this area, we have to remain vigilant. If anybody sees anybody but Laura Hayes using 45 Park Road, we urge them to contact us immediately."

n A local man has now been charged with assaulting and threatening to kill Hayes. He has been released on bail and is expected to appear in court in the near future.

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