A "DANGEROUS" derelict business complex has been shut by magistrates.

As reported in the Daily Echo, West Quay Marina in Poole has been plagued by vandalism and anti-social behaviour since closing.

Police also fear that victims of child sexual exploitation are visiting the empty units, which were previously occupied by businesses including City Bay Views Chinese restaurant, Twin Sails Wharf and the Marina club.

This week, officials from Poole council applied for a premises closure order at Poole Magistrates' Court.

The order, which was granted, will be in force for three months, expiring on January 31 next year.

It covers 22, 23 and 25B to 25H West Quay Road.

Councillor Karen Rampton, cabinet portfolio holder for health, social care, housing and communities, said: “The council has taken this prompt action in response to concerns raised by the local community about the safety of the young people who enter the buildings.

"Empty buildings such as these potentially pose a risk and it is now a criminal offence so we recommend people stay away.”

The complex is set to be demolished and transformed into a £70 million development, which will include 291 residential apartments, 874 sqm of commercial and retail floorspace - including a restaurant - car parking, a quayside walkway and associated landscaping.

Planning permission for the scheme, designed by Calderpeel Architects for developers West Quay Developments (Poole), was granted in July last year.

Safer communities manager Ian Cooke said: “West Quay Marina is due for demolition and redevelopment, but in the meantime the people who now misuse it pose a risk to themselves and others.

"We have worked closely with the buildings’ owners and Dorset Police in obtaining this order to combat anti-social behaviour and to protect our communities and those young people who have been entering the property from harm."

The closure order prohibits unauthorised entry into the site or any of its properties. Ignoring the order is a criminal offence.

Planning enforcement manager Andrew Dearing warned action will be taken against the owners if the site is not secured or demolished soon.

“I visited yesterday and witnessed children and young adults freely accessing the site," he said in a letter.

"I understand from the police it attracts a range of anti-social evening activities which are disturbing and frightening nearby neighbours. The majority of the windows have now been smashed and there is detritus littering the car park, all of which does no credit to Poole."

Anyone affected by anti-social behaviour in the borough should call 101 for police or 01202 633438 to report it to the council.

Incidents can also be reported via poole.gov.uk and dorset.police.uk