Banning order issued at Leeds tower block where stairways 'used as toilets'

Meynell Heights, Holbeck, Leeds. Picture: Google.
Meynell Heights, Holbeck, Leeds. Picture: Google.
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Unauthorised visitors have been banned from a Leeds tower block that has been "blighted" by drug users and anti-social behaviour.

People were found sleeping rough in bin chutes, stairways were used as toilets and residents had seen drug users injecting themselves at Meynell Heights in Holbeck.

Today Leeds City Council, in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, secured a "partial closure order" for the tower block, banning unauthorised visitors from the site.

Anyone who is not a resident, or an invited guest, will now face arrest if they are found inside the tower block.

It comes after officers from Operation Leodis – a council-funded team tackling housing-related anti-social behaviour – was launched following feedback from residents.

Police said residents' lives had been blighted by drug-use and anti-social behaviour at the site.

Drug users had been spotted injecting themselves in the communal areas of the tower block, and hypodermic needles and drugs paraphernalia had been left in stairwells and bin chutes.

People have been found sleeping rough in bin chutes and stairwells have been used as toilets.

Chief Inspector Chris Matthews, who heads neighbourhood policing in the City and South Leeds, said: “Residents have been understandably appalled and disgusted by the nature of the anti-social behaviour they have faced around their homes for some considerable time.

“It is completely unacceptable and we are determined to do everything we can to tackle it. The granting of this order will give real support to the ongoing partnership work we are carrying out to tackle the issues and we hope that residents will see some significant improvements.

“We will not tolerate behaviour that blights the lives of others, and this latest action should serve as a clear warning to those who think they can persist in making peoples’ lives a misery.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action to make sure these issues are not just displaced elsewhere.”

The Operation Leodis team carried out a survey of residents at the tower block, and 65 per cent said they had experienced problems at the site.

The banning order, granted under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 at a hearing at Leeds Magistrates Court on Friday, applies to the common areas of the block.

Any breach of the order is a criminal offence punishable with up to six months in prison.

Coun Debra Coupar, the council's executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: “The actions of these individuals who are not tenants at this particular tower block were completely unacceptable and we were determined that measures be put in place to stop this type of behaviour occurring immediately. Whilst applying for a partial closure order through the courts is certainly not an option that we consider with partners lightly, the wellbeing of our tenants always comes first.

“Through this step, anyone who does not have permission to be in this tower block could face prosecution and even a prison sentence if they ignore our warnings. I want to make it very clear that we will pursue further action against any individual who is found to be breaking any aspect of the court order.”

Officers will be actively enforcing the order through regular patrols of the block, police said.

The Operation Leodis team is also working with Leeds City Council Housing and Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team to take action against flats which are linked to anti-social behaviour in the block.

Anyone with concerns is asked to call police on 101, or Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team on 0113 222 4402.

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