CHILDREN were forced to dodge naked drug needles in one of Swindon’s oldest conservation areas, a court heard.

And those living in the historic terraces between Faringdon Road and Reading Street in the Railway Village were subjected to drug addicts, dealers and sex workers yelling abuse and banging on the door of a vulnerable drug addict.

Now, a flat on Faringdon Road has become the latest to be shut in Wiltshire Police’s battle against County Lines gangs.

Granting the three month closure order banning anyone but the tenant from entering the flat, Swindon magistrates were told the council flat’s 52-year-old tenant, Mark Stafford, was so terrified of the dealers that had taken over his home that he repeatedly asked Swindon Borough Council to move him. 

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In the last month, police had 10 reports of drug dealing connected to the Faringdon Road flat. A sex worker and County Lines dealer had been found sleeping at the home, there was information a pair had been bagging heroin from the flat and numerous people had been seen coming and going.

Community coordinator PC Craig Thompson said uncapped needles were regularly found in alleyways near the flat: “These are alleyways that children play in and local residents walk down.” Neighbours were regularly woken by people banging on the door of the house. 

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PC Thompson warned JPs about the danger of the drugs gangs: “Dangerous drug networks are no strangers to violence and the people involved in these gangs will not hesitate to use violence if they think someone has wronged them. 

“This in turn causes people to stay quiet and to suffer in silence for fear of what might happen to them.”

Sgt Dave Tippetts of Wiltshire Police said: “Closure orders are a fantastic way to both protect the resident at the property concerned, and disrupt the criminal activity of the drug network.

"The order will be in place for three months, which allows us time to work with local partner agencies to put in place a more long term solution to prevent the address being used in a similar way in the future.”