No hiding place for dealers

A firm message that those caught dealing drugs will be evicted from their council homes was made last week in a move welcomed by the chairman of Forfar Community Council.

Last Thursday Angus Council evicted a tenant from her council house in Glenmoy Terrace, in Forfar. Forfar Sheriff Court granted the decree to evict, based on the tenant’s recent conviction for supplying drugs from her home.

The ripple effect from those involved with the supply of drugs in various areas throughout Forfar has been raised on numerous occasions at Forfar Community Council, with delegations speaking candidly about the impact the drug dealers have on their lives.

Speaking last Thursday Angus Council’s housing spokesperson councillor Jim Millar said: “This eviction shows there can be no hiding place for those who prey on the vulnerable and peddle drugs in our communities. Tenants should be in no doubt that if they are found to have abused their tenancy in this way they will lose it. The council will use the ultimate sanction of eviction when, as in this case, we have the evidence that allows us to do so.

“I am grateful to all our colleagues in the Angus Community Safety partnership for their efforts in pursuing this matter to conclusion. I hope that our actions will provide reassurance to our communities that we will not hesitate to evict those who break their conditions of tenancy in this way. The council will continue to work with residents and partner agencies, including Tayside Police, to ensure our communities don’t suffer from the anti-social behaviour of a minority of tenants.”

Councillor Millar will also write to the Minister for Communities and Minister for Justice.

He continued: “I will be urging the Scottish Government to give local authorities the power to keep convicted drug dealers out of publicly provided housing in the future.

“If we are serious about tackling this issue, one that blights the lives of many Scottish communities, we need to be able to protect our tenants from it in the future.”

In welcoming the news, Mrs Isobel Ross, chairman of Forfar Community Council said: “I totally agree with what councillor Millar is saying - there is no hiding place for people who deal drugs, in particular from council property. The process can be long and protracted; we need something to speed that up. We need something to protect the people living alongside those people. The government has to introduce fast track methods for councils to get people like that out once they begin to create havoc for everybody.”

Referring to visits made to community council by those whose lives are effected by neighbours dealing drugs, she continued: “We have seen the impact this behaviour has on near neighbours; it’s quite harrowing for people to have to live beside that as they don’t know what they will get from day to day. There may be some people who are not coming forward to report what is happening in their area as they feel they may become intimidated or a target, but they can come forward anonymously. This is a serious concern in the town and, I would suggest, throughout Angus.”