Wirral Anti-Social Behaviour Team obtained a Full Closure Order last week on a Birkenhead property that had become a hotspot for nuisance and criminality.
The order on the former Central Hotel on Clifton Crescent in Birkenhead town centre – the second such action taken on the property in the last 18 months – was sought following reports from local people that the property had once again been targeted for anti-social behaviour.
Complaints were received about ongoing criminality, with regular reports of drug dealing and criminal damage taking place from the property.
There are also serious concerns raised for the safety of people getting into the building due to the structure being considerably weakened over the years as a result of previous fires, criminal damage and water damage.
The Central Hotel closed in 2013 and has been unoccupied since, but it is increasingly in a state of disrepair; the owner of the building, who is based overseas, is supportive of the closure order.
The hearing took place at Wirral Magistrates Court on 10 November 2022 and, now granted, will remain in place until 9 February 2023. A previous order granted in July 2021 for similar incidents expired in January this year and the problems have gradually returned since then.
Anybody who is found in this property, with no legal entitlement to be there, is at risk of being arrested; breach of a closure order carries a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine of up to £5,000 or both. There is an option to extend the closure order for a further 3 months after this date if it anticipated that the problems may return once the original order expires.
Cllr Helen Cameron, Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee on Wirral Council, said, “This is not a typical type of closure order as it involves an already vacant property and groups of people illegally gaining access to it in order to commit crime and anti-social behaviour.
“A previous closure order was effective in deterring this behaviour while it was in force, but since it expired in January, the number of problems being reported around the property again means further action is needed.
“Actions such as this show how much importance authorities attach to supporting law-abiding residents who suffer when this kind of anti-social behaviour happens around where they live. We will use the full powers available to us to act against people who make life a misery for their neighbours. It is vital that people report problems to us so we can take action.”
Anti-social behaviour can be reported using an online form here – https://my.wirral.gov.uk/service/Anti_social_behaviour_report – or by email to email@example.com
People can also call 0151 606 2020 between 8.45am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. An answerphone service is provided out of hours and calls will be returned the following working day. Tenants of a registered housing provider should contact them directly.