Housing company up for award after it drives Oswestry drug gang out of home

A Shropshire housing organisation has been shortlisted for a national award for its work in driving a drug gang out of one of its properties.

When police issued the closure order back in July 2018
When police issued the closure order back in July 2018

STAR Housing, which manages Shropshire Council houses is in line for Resolve's national ‘Best Project’ in Anti-Social Behaviour award for their work on Cuckooing and County Lines drug dealing in Oswestry.

The organisation was first alerted of the worrying rise in drug dealing/use around Oswestry in 2016, after which they learned of one of their properties in Swan Lane was suspected to be involved in cuckooing.

The decision was then taken to form ‘Operation Whistle’, a multi-agency partnership between STAR Housing, West Mercia Police and Shropshire Recovery Partnership to help those with drug addiction treatment and tackle drug dealing and cuckooing.

Housing Officer Sam Pugh and West Mercia Police began carrying out joint visits to neighbours who had been suffering from the effects of the drug dealing for some time.

Through these visits they learnt of drug paraphernalia being left outside and late night, noisy visits from their customers. They then served warning letters to the perpetrators which were all ignored, and finally a closure order was obtained and the inhabitants were evicted.

For this work, the organisation has been nominated for an award, and Neighbourgood Housing Manager Martin Whitelegg said: "We are so proud of the STAR Housing team at Oswestry for being shortlisted for this national award and helping keep STAR communities vibrant but safe.

"We are also very grateful for the time and effort of West Mercia Police and the Shropshire Recovery Partnership helping tackle a growing problem around the country.

"I am delighted that STAR housing has been shortlisted for the best project award. This recognises our commitment to work with our partners to deal with the drug problems blighting our communities and the quality of life of our tenants."

The Resolve ASB awards dinner will take place at St Johns Hotel, Solihull Birmingham on April 2 and will be attended by members of each agency involved and the STAR Housing team responsible for the work.

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