Neighbours’ shock as 'crack house' stays open
A DECISION to not close down an alleged crack house in Wells has devastated neighbouring residents.
Last Tuesday a judge ruled that 6 Berryman Court would not be cleared and boarded up, despite police hoping for a closure order on the property.
Months of surveillance from the police and a drugs raid has ended in a unsatisfactory conclusion for neighbours.
The property, owned by Aster, is rented by Julie Cobb, but residents of the close believe that the house has been inhabited for five years by Terry Maidment.
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Julie Cobb told South Somerset Magistrates that Mr Maidment had been looking after her cats while she visited her sick mother.
None of the residents interviewed by the Journal wanted to be named as they felt too scared of reprisals.
One said: “Terry Maidment has been living there for five years, and his sister is often there as well.
“For Julie Cobb to use her sick mother as an excuse is something she should be totally ashamed of.
“People come along the alleyway to number 6 at all hours, 12.30pm, 1am and 4am even.
“Every Wednesday when the recycling truck comes, they take away five boxes full of alcohol cans and bottles.
“I just can’t believe what I read in the Journal about the judge’s decision.
“We would move in a heartbeat to be honest, but all the trouble surrounding number 6, all the estate agents have valued our house fairly low.
“The house prices have just hit rock bottom around here.
“I don’t feel safe. I’d never come across a police officer my whole life until a few years ago, and now they take statements and they are here asking about number 6 all the time.
“The trouble started when the housing association took over some of the houses here, and although it’s not their fault, that is definitely when the problem began.”
One lady said she used to be heavily involved with the community in Berryman Court, but now she feels she would rather not get involved, for fear of any trouble that comes of it.
Another resident said: “I’m absolutely shattered by the judge’s decision.
“I never thought that this would be the outcome.
“If they’d have just shut that house then so many problems would stop.
“For years nobody said anything because we are all so fearful, but sometimes you’ve just got to stand up and speak out.
“I pray that all this will come to an end.”
Another said: “It is disgusting what has been going on in Berryman Court for years now and I think the police were spot on doing the drugs raid as it has been a nightmare putting up with all the antisocial behaviour and all the cars blocking up our court and the many visitors visiting that particular address.
“It makes us feel very intimidated and we really appreciate what the police have been doing to try and sort out this issue.”
An Aster Communities spokesperson said: “We are aware of the magistrates’ court decision not to grant a closure order for one of our properties at Berryman Court, which was requested by the Avon and Somerset Police.
“We’ll continue to work with Avon and Somerset Police and the local community to review the options available.”
Police were not able to comment on the decision of the judge.