Weston Focus

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Joint operation uncovers poor housing and criminal activity

by mikebell on 27 August, 2019

A joint operation between Avon and Somerset Police and North Somerset Council has uncovered poor quality residential accommodation and criminal activity in Weston.

Acting on information received through the council’s rogue landlord reporting system, a joint operation involving the police and officers from the Private Rented Housing Team uncovered an unlicensed House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and an extensive cannabis farm in central Weston.

Using Housing Act powers, officers carried out an unannounced visit to addresses in the High Street where they discovered poor housing conditions, gross overcrowding, fire safety hazards and a cannabis farm in an adjacent flat.

The properties are now under investigation and formal action including prosecution or civil penalties may follow.

The operation is part of the council’s commitment to raising housing standards in key parts of Weston and targeting landlords who fail to keep properties in a fit state. Earlier this year, the council launched an “area action approach” of education, promotion and enforcement to target privately rented homes located in an area of central Weston.

Cllr Donald Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council and executive member with responsibility for housing said the success of the operation showed what can be achieved by using reliable intelligence, robust enforcement and joint action with the police and other regulatory bodies.

“Uncovering poor housing conditions and criminal activity is exactly the type of outcome we hoped to achieve in our area action approach and will continue with this successful initiative.

“We will not tolerate rogue landlords who provide poor quality accommodation and we would urge anyone with any information or any concerns to report a landlord now.

“We would like to thank the person who provided this valuable information to our rogue landlord reporting system.”

Acting Sgt Chris Darnell added: “This was a successful intelligence-led operation involving joint visits to two premises in Weston-super-Mare. In one of the properties we located a cannabis factory containing drugs with a street value of around £250,000, as well as associated equipment. A bedroom had been converted into a drying room. We’ve seized the drugs and equipment and have carried out a full forensic examination of the scene. Our investigation is ongoing.”

Anyone can report concerns about a rogue landlord, letting agent or a rented property at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/roguelandlord.

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