Closure order issued against 'problem property' in Southwick area of Sunderland

A closure order has been secured against a property in Sunderland after complaints from people living nearby.

Thursday, 9th December 2021, 3:56 pm
Updated Friday, 10th December 2021, 9:52 am

The shutdown of the problem property in Southwick brings the number of closure orders secured by Sunderland City Council to seven.

The closure order application, supported by Northumbria Police, was made against Tanya Walt of Freda Street, Southwick, and granted on Wednesday, December 8 by South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

The application for the order was made following complaints from residents about antisocial behaviour allegedly linked to both alcohol and drug use.

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The closure order was secured on the property in Southwick.

Council officers say there had been no previous issues at the property before Walt moved in.

Magistrates heard how Walt and three males connected to her and the property had 84 convictions between them.

Statements to the court outlined how: "Walt will let these visitors into her property and spend the day and night drinking with them.

"When they are drunk or high on drugs they start to argue and the fighting spills into the street. They disperse noisily in the early hours of the morning, then by the afternoon they are all drinking again and the events repeat themselves."

Witnesses had described street fights, threats to kill and windows being smashed in full view of elderly residents and children in the street.

The court heard how: "Older residents have included in their impact statements that they used to enjoy having their grandchildren to stay with them however they are no longer able to see them due to the noise, violence and disorder in the street."

Residents contacted Sunderland City Council and began working with the Anti-Social Behaviour team to record and report Walt's behaviour. She has a track record of similar behaviour from a previous property in Roker and whenever enforcement action was taken against her, she had either left the address or received a prison sentence.

Walt had taken no notice of a Community Protection Warning and a Community Protection Notice. The closure order at her property will now be followed up with a court summons for breaches of the Community Protection Notice.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council and cabinet member for the Environment, said: "It's been very sad to hear about the impact this one person has had on all these residents.

"Now that the property has been closed down, I would like to thank the residents for coming forward, showing their community spirit and demonstrating how if we all work and act together, we can make our streets and neighbourhoods happier and more peaceful places."

Residents with concerns about anti-social behaviour should contact 0191 520 5550 or www.sunderland.gov.uk/report-it

Councillor Alex Samuels, a Southwick ward councillor, said: "I'm delighted on behalf of residents that this action has been taken. Residents deserve to be able to live in peace and I'm pleased the council worked with residents to close this problem property down.

"I hope it sends a strong message to the people who cause disruption that we won't allow this to continue in our neighbourhoods."

Inspector Steve Prested of Northumbria Police said: "This is a very positive outcome for everyone concerned. Where it is appropriate, we will pursue criminal prosecutions against individuals who make life a misery for their neighbours through persistent anti-social behaviour and disorder.

"However, there are also other tactics we can use to respond to concerns from residents in our communities, and I am pleased that this problem property has now been closed down.

"We would not have been able to achieve this outcome without the support of the public, so this shows the value in reporting concerns to us."