Closure orders slapped on two Sunderland properties after complaints of drinking, fighting and drug use

Two Sunderland properties have received closure orders after complaints from residents.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 2:09 pm

The first closure order was secured against an unregistered four room HMO property at 42 Morgan Street, Southwick, after complaints from residents that it was being used as an open house for drug-use and anti-social behaviour.

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard that the property was occupied by Paul Bolam, who treated the address as an open house for drug users and would leave a window open for associates to climb inside in his absence.

Sunderland City Council said things deteriorated rapidly in the 18 months after Mr Bolam moved into the street in March 2020, with three council-led ASB investigations and more than 60 police incidents at the address.

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The closure order attached to the door of the property in Morgan Street, Southwick.

The order, which was supported by Northumbria Police and secured on Wednesday, September 29, will initially remain in effect for three months, prohibiting anyone from remaining on or entering the premises, with a maximum penalty of 51 weeks imprisonment for anyone breaching this.

The council said it is also pursuing a Criminal Behaviour Order against Paul Bolam in a bid to stop his anti-social behaviour and ensure the issues at Morgan Street do not happen elsewhere.

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The council has also issued the landlord of the property with a Community Protection Warning with 13 separate conditions that need to be met to avoid further enforcement action. This comes after visits to the property found a strong smell of cannabis and waste, including food waste and gas canisters piled high in the rear yard, and the communal kitchen infested with flies.

A partial closure order was also secured against a private rented property at 77 Rhodesia Road, Redhouse at the same court on Tuesday, September 28, and was again supported by police.

It follows complaints from residents relating to excessive noise, fighting and drunken behaviour, which were supported by witness statements, noise recordings from the council’s noise monitoring application and Northumbria Police records, outlining 18 incidents since the occupant Paul Sawyers moved into the property 18 months ago.

The court heard that the address had been used by Paul Sawyers and his visitors for regular gatherings involving excessive drinking, which resulted in violent disorder and noise disturbances through the night and into the early hours of the next morning.

The order will initially remain in effect for three months banning anyone other than Paul Sawyers and his son from remaining on or entering the premises, with a maximum penalty of 51 weeks imprisonment for anyone breaching this.

The council is also pursuing a Criminal Behaviour Order against Paul Sawyers in a bid to stop his anti-social behaviour and ensure the issues at Rhodesia Road do not continue elsewhere.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "We hope the closure notices will give some much needed respite to the residents of Morgan Street and Rhodesia Road, many of whom have lived in the streets for a number of years. No-one should have to tolerate the kind of anti-social behaviour these residents have had to put up with over the last 18 months."This brings to six the number of closure orders Sunderland City Council has secured on problem properties across the city in the last six months, with the support of Northumbria Police.